A Tale of Two “Retirees”

Actor John Lithgow was recently interviewed by Jeffrey Brown on the PBS Newshour.  Lithgow, age 72, does not seem to know the meaning of the word retirement. He’s currently rocking a one-man show on Broadway, “bringing the magic of the bedtime story.”  And his performance of Winston Churchill on Netflix’s The Crown, has been smothered in stellar reviews, earning Lithgow an Emmy.  Another one.

Lithgow‘s zeal for life seems to grow stronger as he ages.  “Growing older has its perks,” he says. “Turns out being an old actor is tremendous.  I think all my competition has fallen away. I’m very aware of how lucky I am to be this viable at this age. And I’m just grabbing for all the gusto I can get.  I have been selling canned goods, and now I’m canned goods myself.”

Oh that we could be canned goods!

The NY Times recently interviewed author, Philip Roth, who retired from writing in 2012 at age 80.  Roth decided that his best work was behind him and that whatever he subsequently produced would be inferior.

Roth now leads “the quiet life of an Upper West Side retiree”.  He visits friends, attends concerts, watches old movies, and reads voraciously.

Roth describes everyday-aging as follows,  

It is astonishing to find myself still here at the end of each day. Getting into bed at night I smile and think, “I lived another day.” And then it’s astonishing again to awaken eight hours later and to see that it is morning of the next day and that I continue to be here. “I survived another night,” which thought causes me to smile once more. I go to sleep smiling and I wake up smiling. I’m very pleased that I’m still alive. This produces the illusion that this thing is just never going to end, though of course I know that it can stop on a dime. It’s something like playing a game, day in and day out, a high-stakes game that for now, even against the odds, I just keep winning. We will see how long my luck holds out.

So unlike Lithgow, we won’t be nominated for an Emmy any time soon.

And unlike Roth, we never did get around to writing that great American novel.

But we can smile, even chuckle, upon waking each and every morning!

We GET to stay in the Game!

And what a Game it is!

Today’s Takeaway –

  • Ask questions.  Be curious.  Stay informed, but don’t be obnoxious in sharing opinions that no one wants to hear.
  • Enjoy the Game more by practicing a glass half full perspective. Just don’t be too perky. No one likes perkiness.

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

3 thoughts on “A Tale of Two “Retirees”

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