As a writer, I occasionally come out of my cave to interact with actual live people. That’s partly why I attend the monthly meetings at the Palm Springs Writers’ Guild. Last Saturday was especially enjoyable. We had a great speaker: Angela Bole, the Executive Director of the Independent Book Publishers Association. But also, a half-dozen people came up and told me they read this blog.
I hadn’t known! What a compliment. But we barely had time to discuss it, since people were yakking about their books and poetry and contests and book fairs. I tell you, it’s invigorating and inspiring to be there. The Guild has been expanding for several years now, adding more members and more activities. They have dozens of sub-groups, one of the most recent being for screenwriters.
A couple years ago, I’d been feeling a little guilty not doing anything to keep the momentum going, aside from paying my dues. So I began leading roundtable discussions before the meetings. People could drop in and learn from each other about writing, publishing, and marketing. And I taught a class. Then I joined the Board of Directors.
We have fun in our board meetings, and it’s exciting to feel the energy and creativity there. Recently, we went around the table and shared our reasons for being on the board. Maybe a friend asked us to, or we wanted to offset that writer reclusiveness, or to give back, or to heighten our visibility. To have it on our resume or to make sure we stay sharp. Secretly, I enjoy saying “I’m on the board of directors for the Guild.” Also I hope to meet somebody famous! Chances are good. As Doctor Phil likes to say, we’re in a target-rich environment.
So this is a shout out to the PSWG. But also, a thought about continuing to do something after you reach “a certain age.” I hesitate to use the word “retire” because what does that even mean anymore?
According to the Kiplinger Report: “One growing sector in the U.S. job market is baby boomer entrepreneurs. By 2020, those at or near retirement will launch 25 percent of businesses.” Isn’t that amazing?
You might decide to start a sideline for the fun or the money. After all, once the kids leave, you might have as many productive years left as it took to raise them. You might decide to return to work, on your own terms, doing something you like. Did you know there’s a labor shortage looming? In the paper this morning it said Home Depot alone was looking to hire 80,000 part-time workers. After so many years being kicked around, employees will finally be in the drivers’ seat. (My son reminded me recently that I’d been predicting a Baby Boomer-related labor shortage since he was a teenager. He’s 37 now. I was right, but I didn’t anticipate the Great Recession.)
So “retirement” as a concept will have to change, because older people are changing, and if seventy million people do something at the same time, it’s going to have an effect. Once again we’re doing things our own special way, Boomers. Rock on.