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To retire, or to not retire? A journalist goes on quest to determine what’s subsequent : International


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That is FRESH AIR. I’m Dave Davies, in for Terry Gross. My visitor, Steve Lopez, is somebody I’ve recognized casually for a few years as a result of after I was a political reporter in Philadelphia within the ’80s and ’90s, Lopez was the star columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer. He was recognized for crafting compelling human curiosity tales, shining a lightweight on unfairness and inequality, and skewering politicians with intelligent nicknames that caught to them for years.

In 2001, he took his abilities to Los Angeles, the place he grew to become an area establishment writing columns for the LA Instances. He is received a bunch of awards and written a number of books together with “The Soloist” about his relationship with a sometimes-homeless, Julliard-trained musician with schizophrenia. It was made into a movie with Robert Downey Jr. taking part in Lopez.

Lopez’s newest e book is about whether or not he ought to give all that up and simply stop, retire. It is a massive resolution and a tricky one, so Lopez determined to make it a reporting challenge. He interviewed a bunch of specialists and plenty of people that have retired – some find it irresistible, some do not – in addition to some who by no means will as a result of they love and are energized by their work – and since it is Los Angeles. A few of them are well-known similar to Mel Brooks and Norman Lear. Lopez takes us on the journey and shares his resolution within the e book titled “Independence Day: What I Realized About Retirement From Some Who’ve Performed It And Some Who By no means Will.”

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Steve Lopez, welcome again to FRESH AIR.

STEVE LOPEZ: Hey, it is so good to be with you.

DAVIES: , lots of people have many roles which are an actual grind. And once they hit their 60s, they can not wait to retire. , you may have a fairly good job (laughter), you understand, doing what you do. And within the e book, you say how a lot you find it irresistible. What made you consider retiring?

LOPEZ: Yeah, I do have a dream job. I really feel so fortunate particularly working in an trade that has misplaced hundreds of jobs. I imply, you understand, since – I feel simply in the course of the pandemic, 360 newspapers have closed in the USA. And so I didn’t take flippantly strolling away from one thing that I’ve accomplished for almost half a century. However the truth that it has been almost half a century is a part of what motivated me to look into this, to consider whether or not it was time. I imply, it has been a terrific run. It has been a privilege. It hasn’t even felt all that very like work more often than not. However you begin to consider how a lot time you may have left. And also you begin to consider the issues that, you understand, you’d love to do otherwise you needed to check out, to see if that is one thing you need to spend your time on.

And I started worrying that I might be a kind of folks – and also you hear about this on a regular basis. Anyone retires, and per week later, they drop useless, or – you understand, who is aware of what bodily or cognitive illnesses may come my manner. And I might by no means get an opportunity to do these different issues. So I needed to, earlier than I made any resolution, speak to lots of people and see – and go to high school on their experiences. In order that’s the way it all started. And I gave myself a one-year deadline to speak to sufficient folks that I may really feel comfy with a call about what to do in my very own state of affairs.

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DAVIES: , one of many issues about the way in which know-how has affected journalism – and I discovered this after I was doing political reporting – is that there is no deadlines anymore. It is a 24-hour information cycle. I imply, in the event you used to – it was you’d in all probability write two columns per week. When the column was in, you had been accomplished for an additional three days. You might catch your breath. However now, I imply, ideas are available in across the clock. Individuals react to your columns across the clock. They are going to nitpick one thing across the clock. That is form of carrying, is not it?

LOPEZ: Yeah, you understand, that is level. I used to – after I wrote a column, you understand, again in my days on the Oakland Tribune or San Jose Mercury Information, Philadelphia Inquirer, later for Time journal, you wrote it, and also you knew you had that relaxation interval arising. However now, as quickly because it runs digitally, you begin to get the suggestions. And also you get the pats on the again and the kicks within the pants, and it is what have you ever – it is all the time, what have you ever accomplished for us these days, on to the subsequent one, the subsequent one, the subsequent one, and a lot extra competitors as a result of there are such a lot of voices on the market.

So, you understand, that a part of the – there’s a little bit of an adrenaline rush, I feel, with the form of factor that I have been doing, being, like, an old school metro columnist. You get an thought. You chase it down. You simply sit on the laptop. You take a look at that clean display screen. You bought to create one thing out of nothing. You get it accomplished. And oh, my goodness. They printed it. I nonetheless…


LOPEZ: I can not imagine, nearly a half a century later that, you understand, my phrases are nonetheless printed. And there’s a rush from that. I do get a little bit of a rush and wasn’t so positive what the push can be if I left this behind. I imply, what is going on to offer me that sense of mattering, of being related?

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DAVIES: I need to get to a number of the many individuals you talked to in contemplating this resolution. However there’s one different factor about your house life we should always speak about. Your loved ones state of affairs offered you with one other transition. , inform us about that.

LOPEZ: Yeah, I’ve a daughter who is nineteen years outdated. And, you understand, she got here – I used to be 50 when she was born. I had two sons 1 / 4 of a century earlier. And I – it meant that for nearly all of my grownup life, I had youngsters in the home. And I like that. I – you understand, as a result of this was such a blessing to have, you understand, this little woman come into our lives. I used to be very hooked up. And I might – you understand, I might cherished having her round and watching her develop up. And she or he’s a tennis participant. And, you understand, as she made it by means of the junior tennis years after which the highschool years, she began occupied with faculty.

And that, for her, was a really thrilling time. And for me, it was a really scary time as a result of she was, at some point quickly, going to be out of the home. And I knew that, and I knew that I wasn’t fairly prepared. I imply, after all, you need your youngsters to develop up and be impartial and go off and uncover themselves and the world. However I started to consider whether or not – if I retired, it was going to be on the identical time that Caroline left for faculty. And would that double void be an excessive amount of for me? Wouldn’t it actually be powerful to regulate to that double whammy of, wow, I haven’t got a job to report back to and I haven’t got my daughter round to speak to about, you understand, this or that? And it is one of many issues that, ultimately, influenced me.

There’s an individual I went to within the e book. Her identify is Rabbi Naomi Levy. She’s the creator of “Einstein And The Rabbi.” And she or he warned me about that. She warned me concerning the significance of construction and the way some individuals who have it of their work lives lose it and may’t regain it as soon as they retire. And she or he warned me, too, about that double void. And it is one thing that I actually thought so much about. I imply, I had no selection about my daughter going off to varsity, however I did have a selection about whether or not I left work. In order that definitely influenced my resolution.

DAVIES: We have to take a break right here. Let me reintroduce you. We’re talking with Steve Lopez. He’s a columnist for the Los Angeles Instances. His new e book about contemplating retirement is “Independence Day: What I Realized About Retirement From Some Who’ve Performed It And Some Who By no means Will.” We’ll proceed our dialog after this quick break. That is FRESH AIR.


DAVIES: That is FRESH AIR. We’re talking with creator and Los Angeles Instances columnist Steve Lopez. His newest e book about confronting the dilemma of whether or not to retire or not is named “Independence Day: What I Realized About Retirement From Some Who’ve Performed It And Some Who By no means Will.” Effectively, Steve Lopez, you understand, this e book is named “Independence Day.” And it begins on a Fourth of July. You need to simply set this up for us?

LOPEZ: Sure. The e book, I ought to say – it wasn’t my thought. My agent, David Black – I feel this e book happened as a result of I used to be writing a awful novel. And David, who’s pal, would ask concerning the novel, and he’d hear my reply. And at some point we had been having lunch, and I stated that I used to be starting to consider retirement, however I wasn’t positive. And he stated, oh, that is a e book about identification. Ten thousand folks a day flip 65 in the USA. The boomer wave is cresting. , there are 70 million boomers. It is a e book. It is a e book about work, about retirement, about identification.

And so it started – that was his thought. And I wasn’t positive that I used to be shopping for in. However on Fourth of July, I used to be sitting in my yard in L.A. and began writing. And I emailed him, and I stated, hey, I’ve acquired an thought for the title – “Independence Day.” I am going to give myself a 12 months. In order that’s the way it acquired its identify. And I spent one 12 months from Fourth of July to Fourth of July attempting to determine it out.

DAVIES: You are within the enterprise of researching topics that you simply need to know extra about, so that you definitely discovered new specialists, however you’ve got talked to a whole lot of actually fascinating folks through the years, and also you went to folks whose lives and opinions you respect. One in all them was Father Greg Boyle, who’s the founding father of Homeboy Industries. He is labored with former gang members for many years to begin them on – you understand, assist them get began on new paths. He is fairly a exceptional particular person. He is been a visitor on this program a number of instances. You visited him. What did you observe? What did you study?

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LOPEZ: Effectively, Father Greg is my age. Father Greg is an area hero. He is a saint. He redirects the lives of younger women and men who’ve gotten into hassle associated to the circumstances that they’ve grown up in. They go to – you understand, they find yourself in jail, and after jail they knock on his door to attempt to get some job coaching. So I’ve recognized him for a few years, and I do know that he loves his job. And I went to see him and instructed him that I had been occupied with retirement. And he gave me form of an odd look – like, why? , why? And I stated, there are issues that I feel possibly I ought to strive, and I’ve accomplished this for a very long time, and – however I am simply undecided. I am undecided whether or not I will be fulfilled in retirement.

And he stated, life is about, you understand, being linked to one thing, being linked to a loving God, feeling as if you are related, as if you may have a function. And he stated that in his case, he’d by no means thought of retiring. And he stated to me, I am a Jesuit. Jesuits retire within the graveyard. And that meant so much to me, partly as a result of I do not do what Father Greg does. However I feel that social justice, financial justice has been an enormous a part of what I’ve targeted on. And I believed, boy, he is sticking – you understand, he will – he is going all the way in which to the top with this. And right here I’m strolling away. I felt fairly feeble after speaking to Father Greg.

DAVIES: (Laughter) Yeah. It is simple to really feel smaller than somebody who’s achieved what he has, you understand? However he form of – he did say, you understand, go the place life is. Discover that means, and maintain on to that so long as you may.

LOPEZ: And that’s such – properly, I imply, I feel that is the trick. That is the important thing. And if you are able to do that by persevering with to work, I feel that is nice. And I definitely discovered individuals who have made that selection. However different folks have discovered that means in attempting new issues. And, you understand, I’ve all the time had this concept that I needed to study language. My father’s dad and mom are from Spain. I converse slightly Spanish, however have by no means been fluent. My mom’s dad and mom are from Italy, and I all the time needed to study Italian. I’ve by no means had the time for this stuff.

And I believed in retirement what I might do is get fluent in a few languages, possibly spend, you understand, months reasonably than, you understand, seven days in these international locations on trip. And in addition music – I needed to pursue music, and I like to cook dinner. I believed, wow, what if I had been residing in Barcelona, and I might get up and go to Spanish class after which go to a cooking class after which research guitar someplace. That every one – you understand, all of that appealed. It nonetheless appeals. And I have never gotten to that, fairly, however possibly at some point.

DAVIES: Yeah, properly, hopefully there’s time to get some years in of each. You talked to Mel Brooks, who’s – what’s he? – 96. Mid-90s, I feel, proper?

LOPEZ: Yeah, mid-90s.

DAVIES: And retains doing what he is doing. What did you hear from him?

LOPEZ: Effectively, I needed to speak to Mel Brooks and Norman Lear, who simply turned 100, as a result of they had been of their 90s doing artistic work and never slowing down. Now, these are distinctive circumstances. In fact, these are Hollywood legends, and possibly they’ll by no means actually escape who they’re. Their identification is just about set. However I did have this concern. I do not know that you may name what I do terribly artistic, however you do stare at a clean display screen, and you have to determine what to fill it up with.

And I questioned if for folks like Mel Brooks and for Norman Lear, work is oxygen. And once you cease, you suffocate. And is that what’s preserving them going? And is that how I will be? Am I going to, you understand, have the going-away social gathering and retire, after which simply, you understand, begin gasping, attempting to determine what I may discover that is extra fulfilling than what I’ve accomplished? And Mel Brooks – you understand, requested me a whole lot of – Mel Brooks kind of grew to become my life coach. And ultimately, he stated, properly, you want to put in writing. You want working for the LA Instances. He stated he learn my column. That was flattering. He stated, however you need to, you understand – you need to stay in Barcelona. You need to do one thing else. Why not go to the editors of the LA Instances and say, look; I need to maintain doing this however not a lot. Why do not you get the most effective of each worlds? And naturally, it was fairly good recommendation and fairly near what I ended up doing.

DAVIES: Proper. I imply, in addition they – I feel each Mel Brooks and Norman Lear checked out what you probably did and stated, you understand what? Chances are you’ll suppose you are going to cease doing it, however your mind goes to maintain working the way in which it all the time works. And, the truth is, you describe occurring slightly trip to Laguna Seashore, I feel, along with your spouse and occurring upon any person there and considering, this will probably be a terrific column. And also you ended up working it (laughter).

LOPEZ: Yeah. I ponder – I do marvel if I am wired, if there isn’t a escaping this. And I feel I need to discover out. I feel I need to, for a time in my life, possibly do nothing. I imply, planning is nice. And it is vital to determine how you are going to be related and matter to any person. However I’ve by no means been in a position to decelerate sufficient to only clear my head completely. And that is one thing I’d love to do. What – you understand, what Mel Brooks stated was that he is motivated nonetheless. And it is so simple as that.

And Norman Lear, extra of the thinker, stated that life is about – you are in a hammock, he stated. You are swinging between what’s over and what’s subsequent. And if one thing tugs at you, one thing motivates you – you rise up away from bed as a result of an thought is simply burning and you have to get to the pc and begin writing – then that is life. That is – you need not suppose past that. , his philosophy of residing within the second is nice for lots of people. And I took that to coronary heart. However, you understand, I am not independently rich. And I wanted to make some selections. And so I wasn’t so positive that I did not need to fully break free from what I have been doing.

DAVIES: , I am going to simply observe for listeners, in the event that they need to hear extra of Mel Brooks’ tackle his life, we will be replaying considered one of Terry Gross’ interviews with him on tomorrow’s present. So that you may need to take heed to that. , it is fascinating. I’ve recognized lots of people who had jobs that they preferred, some in journalism, who, you understand, took a buyout provide from the newspaper they had been working for as a result of, you understand, it was probability to get slightly head begin right into a retirement or a brand new life.

However they figured, I will maintain working. I will freelance for this place and that place. After which I might run into them six or eight months later. And they’d uncover, truly, I like spending time with my partner and having days that I can do what I need. Once you had been round, you talked to a whole lot of totally different folks. Did you discover individuals who stated, truly, yeah, stopping work was nice?

LOPEZ: I – you understand, I had some pen buddies at a retirement group. Once I began this challenge, I had been to Leisure World Seal Seashore, which is simply south of Los Angeles. And it is principally a retirement group of a number of thousand folks. And I requested them if I may write a visitor column for his or her newspaper. And so they stated, positive. So I wrote it. And I stated…

DAVIES: For the retirement dwelling’s e-newsletter?

LOPEZ: Sure. Sure.


LOPEZ: And I wrote it and stated, I am considering of retiring. I might prefer to go to high school in your experiences. Please, share any knowledge that you have. And it was throughout the board. It was isolation and despair. It was, I wanted, you understand – this has been so nice. It has been higher than I ever would have imagined. And these are individuals who had been, you understand, well being care directors. And there was one girl who was a regulation clerk within the patent workplace of a toy firm who so appeared ahead to her retirement that she’d look – you understand, they threw her an enormous going-away social gathering on a Friday. And she or he drives dwelling – and I am free, I am free, free eventually; Independence Day – and, Saturday, has day. Sunday’s fairly good – Monday, wakes up with nothing to do and by the top of the primary week of her retirement, referred to as her boss and stated, I feel I made an enormous mistake. Can I’m going again to work? So you’ve got acquired these folks.

And in addition from that retirement group, I had hassle getting maintain of a girl, who at some point lastly picked up. And she or he was on her boat off the coast of California. And she or he stated that they’d simply – she and her husband had simply bumped right into a fishing boat. And the fishermen provided her a number of the recent catch. And she or he stated, it is nearly cocktail hour and that we will grill the fish on this boat. And she or he stated to me, don’t wait. Don’t wait till you are too outdated to do this stuff. Retire at present. So I acquired it, you understand, throughout the board from these with regrets and people who want they’d accomplished it sooner.

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DAVIES: Yeah, helps in the event you can afford a ship, I suppose.

LOPEZ: Sure (laughter).

DAVIES: We have to take one other break right here. Let me reintroduce you. We’re talking with Steve Lopez. He’s a columnist for the Los Angeles Instances. His new e book about contemplating retirement is “Independence Day: What I Realized About Retirement From Some Who’ve Performed It And Some Who By no means Will.” He’ll be again to speak extra after this quick break. I am Dave Davies, and that is FRESH AIR.


DAVIES: That is FRESH AIR. I’m Dave Davies, in for Terry Gross. We’re talking with creator and Los Angeles Instances columnist Steve Lopez. His newest e book is about confronting the dilemma of whether or not to retire in his ’60s after a protracted and rewarding profession in journalism. He consulted specialists and loads of individuals who’ve retired and others who will not like Mel Brooks, who’s saved working into his 90s. Lopez’s e book is “Independence Day: What I Realized About Retirement From Some Who’ve Performed It And Some Who By no means Will.”

One in all them stated, do not suppose that you will – that retirement will probably be rewarding as a result of – belief me – it actually is not.

LOPEZ: Sure, that was, I feel, a former faculty professor who had actually been scuffling with creating that new identification. I imply, once you’re – he would – you understand, you stand earlier than a classroom of younger folks, hungry minds. After which, swiftly, you are on the retirement dwelling, you understand, questioning how one can spend your day. He actually struggled.

, there’s one other man who, for me, stands out. There was – there is a gentleman within the e book. I ended up calling this man and his spouse Ralph and Alice. They jogged my memory slightly little bit of “The Honeymooners.” And Ralph had job for a utility firm, form of a center supervisor. And there was a merger. And he took a buyout and thought, I am set. And it was slightly bit early, however he thought, I am set. After which, the market crash actually knocked him, you understand, despatched him for a loop. And after that, he was recognized with most cancers. And the medical payments began piling up. And this man who had his retirement mapped out, you understand, journey the world and – he is a nature lover as is his spouse – finally ends up making use of for jobs in his 70s and having hassle getting something. And he ended up working as a cashier at a big-box retailer close to Disneyland.

And after I went to see him, there he was. I imply, he had considered one of these jobs the place it is the self-checkout however there must be some monitoring, and any person wants at hand you the bag that you simply simply purchased for a nickel. And that is the man. And he was standing there. And he stated that his foot harm and he needed to see a physician. And he didn’t look very blissful. This isn’t the image of, you understand, his golden years that he had in thoughts. It jogged my memory a lot of one thing my mom used to say – the golden years are usually not so golden, essentially.

DAVIES: Yeah. Gosh, you understand, it jogs my memory of my father who misplaced a job in his early 50s and simply by no means discovered his ft once more and ended up – final time I noticed him, he was working a shift at a 7-Eleven and died at age 59. You by no means know the place issues are going to take you. However household positive helps when you’ve got folks that you simply love and depend – and you may depend on.

LOPEZ: My dad and mom’ expertise was very a lot part of my decision-making course of. They each ended up – I imply, they lived into their 80s. However the final, you understand, 10, even 15 years had been tough with bodily points, with cognitive loss. And that influenced me fairly a bit particularly as a result of I seem like on the identical well being care calendar as my dad and mom. Issues have occurred to me that occurred to my dad and mom once they had been, you understand, the identical age. And, you understand, they each had this cognitive loss. My final dialog with my mom, she did not keep in mind who I used to be or my sister was. And I believed that, you understand, I haven’t got a few years earlier than I am her age. What am I going to do with this time? And I even have the center points that every of my dad and mom had.

DAVIES: , as you talked about, one of many issues it is advisable think about once you’re attempting to make this resolution is, you understand, what number of years do I’ve? And what number of wholesome years do I’ve? And, you understand, you may have an fascinating profile right here since you nearly purchased the farm as soon as. , inform us about this second.

LOPEZ: And I’m again from the useless. It is a small membership, and I am in it. I went in for a knee alternative about 10 years in the past and, in post-op, went into cardiac arrest and flatlined, needed to be resuscitated. I keep in mind, you understand, waking up and – wow, that is a whole lot of nurses and medical doctors. What is going on on? And so they stated, you flatlined. I knew I had an arrhythmia simply as my dad and mom each had arrhythmias and, you understand, gradual coronary heart failure. I did not know I used to be in such – you understand, such unhealthy form that I might go into cardiac arrest. And I left the hospital with each a pacemaker and a knee alternative.

And that is – you understand, that could be a actual slap within the face. It is that – you understand, that mortality wake-up name, and also you simply understand it may occur any time. And given my dad and mom’ coronary heart points and, later in life, their cognitive points, I believed I might higher actually determine whether or not I need to do one thing apart from write columns, which I’ve already accomplished for a number of a long time.

DAVIES: You talked about that with the intention to get a wider view of retirees, you wrote a visitor column for the e-newsletter of Leisure World, this retirement middle. It had a whole lot of fascinating issues that folks stated. One in all them, a girl – I feel the identify was Lillian – stated, ensure you are 100% prepared. What was she getting at?

LOPEZ: Effectively, I feel she was getting at what occurred with that different girl from Leisure World who appeared so ahead to – couldn’t await her retirement social gathering and per week later referred to as and was scratching on the door, begging to get her job again. You do want – you understand, you do have to suppose it by means of. I believed that Nancy Schlossberg, in her 90s in Florida, who’s discovered a lot about retirement and the issue of the transition that she’s written just a few books about it – I imply, Nancy stated that, you understand, you bought to think about methods during which you’ll nonetheless matter.

And it does not imply that you simply matter within the sense that you will change the world. Possibly you matter to the canine who must be walked or to the grandchild who wants orthodontia or to the folks on the nonprofit the place you are serving as a mentor, or possibly you are on the board. However you bought to construct that lifetime of mattering, the factor that, you understand, Greg Boyle, Father Greg Boyle has discovered. So I feel, yeah, it is advisable – it could possibly’t be only a willy-nilly resolution, I am going to determine it out. These are the folks, I feel, who find yourself sitting on the couch, reaching for the distant, questioning what to do subsequent.

DAVIES: You spoke to an analyst and a rabbi. And it looks as if they gave you kind of parallel recommendation. What did you hear from them?

LOPEZ: , each of them – I nonetheless hear their recommendation echoing for me. One factor that the rabbi, Naomi Levy, stated to me was that, you understand, she had a man who got here to her, he was a member of her congregation, and he stated that he was actually struggling. He was form of OK Monday by means of Friday, you understand. Go to work, and, you understand, rise up the subsequent day, and do it once more. After which on weekends, he simply felt form of misplaced. And the extra she talked to him, the extra she realized and he realized that he wants construction, and there was no construction in his life on the weekends. And she or he stated folks underestimate what construction can imply.

She additionally had this nice recommendation, which was – and I’ve taken this to coronary heart. She stated, it is a good suggestion in the event you can carve out the time, with an additional week of trip or a month of trip or a sabbatical, to check the dream. You’ve all of those folks occupied with retirement, they usually let you know what they are going to do. They’ll discover ways to fly an airplane. They’ll, you understand, discover ways to knit rugs, or they are going to – no matter it’s. After which they lastly get there and understand, I do not actually care that a lot for this, or I am afraid of flying. And, you understand, and I am uninterested in knitting rugs. And she or he stated, it is a good suggestion, in the event you can, to pattern the dream.

And considered one of my desires has been to get my dusty guitar out of the storage and begin taking part in it once more. And I’ve performed, due to Rabbi Naomi Levy, on daily basis, you understand, averaging about an hour a day for a 12 months. And so I am sampling the dream.

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DAVIES: We have to take a break right here, then we’ll speak some extra. Let me reintroduce you. We’re talking with Steve Lopez. He is a columnist for the Los Angeles Instances. His new e book about contemplating retirement is named “Independence Day.” We’ll proceed our dialog after this quick break. That is FRESH AIR.


DAVIES: That is FRESH AIR, and we’re talking with Steve Lopez. He is a columnist for the Los Angeles Instances. He has a brand new e book about contemplating retirement. It is referred to as “Independence Day: What I Realized About Retirement From Some Who’ve Performed It And Some Who By no means Will.” You talked to a whole lot of specialists, folks you understand, folks you did not know. However there are these two folks which are actually vital – I imply your spouse, Alison, and your daughter, Caroline. One of many stuff you write that they each stated is, you want extra associates. Are they proper?

LOPEZ: (Laughter) And might I add, they are not very good about this once they say it to me.

DAVIES: No, it sounded reasonably sternly spoken, truly. Yeah.

LOPEZ: No, it is like, what is the matter with you? , do not you understand how to socialize? Does no person such as you? That is the way it comes off to me. , that is a part of what this was about for me. There are issues I’ve missed in life as a result of I used to be working too arduous. , I’ve sacrificed friendships. And I’ve additionally moved round so much in my job, which meant that you simply needed to begin throughout, constructing these friendships. And so they’re proper. I imply, I do have to socialize extra.

However I feel that it is arduous to develop that once you’re doing the form of work that I do, which is – you bought to maintain considering. It is like – I get up in the midst of the evening nonetheless, considering, did I blow that column that is about to run, and what am I going to do subsequent to redeem myself? So my head has been so caught up with work that it is saved me from creating and holding on to friendships. And that is one thing that I actually do need to work on as I discover that I’ve acquired, you understand, extra leisure time. So Alison and Caroline are proper. I want extra associates. Anyone obtainable?

DAVIES: I feel there can be lots of people obtainable. , as I hear you describe it, it strikes me if anyone has the form of job that may allow you to make social connections, it is you. I imply, you – you understand, you do not simply write columns about vital folks and elected officers and company leaders. You speak to folks. I imply, folks that – who are usually not boldface names on a regular basis. And many folks love your work and would love to hold with you. And, you understand, you and I do not know one another properly, however I’ve all the time – you understand, there’s a manner during which you do not – possibly you are not so terribly approachable. I do not know.

LOPEZ: Individuals suppose due to the cage-rattling columns that I’ve written, the – that I am – I do not know – possibly I am a more durable character than I actually am. I am form of only a softy. I feel that the whole lot that I’ve skilled in life has been about, what’s the column right here? And I feel it is gotten in the way in which of me creating friendships with individuals who I actually respect and admire and would need to be associates with. It is simply that my relationships with folks have been about work. And possibly that is my fault, that I have never been in a position to step away and maintain my work life separate from my non-public life. And possibly that is what Alison and Caroline are attending to. I started working on making associates.

DAVIES: Your spouse, Alison, is a contract author. She works at dwelling, and he or she’s just a few years youthful than you. She’s acquired an lively profession going. And, you understand, you’ve got made it clear she would not need you hanging round at her elbow all day. Your daughter had a form of a extra colourful manner of describing the prospect of the 2 of you collectively in the home. Do you need to share that?

LOPEZ: I feel Caroline’s phrases had been, you will kill one another, after I first instructed her – what did she take into consideration me retiring and, you understand, being in the home there extra hours every day. You may kill one another. She was kidding, after all. However, you understand, you do must, I feel, in lots of circumstances, discover your individual lives. , even when Alison had been retired and did not have issues to do whereas I used to be sitting there, retired, you understand, questioning when she may – you understand, after we can go and do that collectively. Alison stated one thing – I am not going to be your play date buddy. I am not going to be your – you understand. So determine it out. Discover some issues to do. That is a part of – that is an enormous adjustment for lots of people. Lots of people, after I was researching this e book, had these points with how do you – you understand, you’ve got acquired a complete – the day is now a clear slate. You do not have to be someplace from 9 to five after which fear about what you probably did from 9 to five from 6 to midnight, and marvel in the event you did OK and what you are going to do subsequent. So I do suppose that these are the sorts of little changes that Nancy Schlossberg in Sarasota, Fla., instructed me that each retiree faces. OK, what now? All the things is totally different.

DAVIES: Yeah. She was the psychologist who, when she retired, form of made it a enterprise to turn into an skilled on retirement, wrote a whole lot of books about it.

LOPEZ: And what was fascinating about that, she did that as a result of she hadn’t thought it by means of. And she or he was a psychologist who had targeted on transitions. However that was one massive transition that she had not given sufficient consideration to. She – and, you understand, she made the purpose that it is a mistake, possibly, to plan out on daily basis of your retirement. And Nancy stated to me, it is advisable discover ways to embrace ambiguity as a result of in retirement, it is form of like life. Issues come at you that you do not anticipate. There are small victories. And there are devastating losses.

She misplaced her husband and by no means thought it could occur. However she met one other particular person. And she or he misplaced him. And after I was interviewing her on the telephone, there was a beep. And she or he excused herself and got here again to say, that is my boyfriend calling. I’ve acquired to take this. , Nancy’s in her 90s. And she or he definitely has embraced ambiguity. And, you understand, retirement is just not – you aren’t getting this prescription on this is the way you do it. You bought to roll with it slightly bit. And I discovered that from lots of people I talked to.

DAVIES: So that you started this quest on an Independence Day, on a July Fourth, gave your self a 12 months. And as that 12 months – the top of the 12 months approached, the LA Instances was providing buyouts to senior staff. So there was a possibility there. What did you resolve?

LOPEZ: Effectively, that – there was slightly wrinkle in that, too, as a result of my longtime editor, Sue Horton, who’s slightly bit youthful than I’m, was contemplating taking the buyout. And, I imply, buyouts, what a – (laughter) I in all probability should not say this. However buyouts, what a present. I imply, you are paid to not work. It is a manner – you understand, many corporations use buyouts to skinny the roles slightly bit. In my case, I may have walked away with pay for, you understand, like, almost a 12 months. I went with Mel Brooks. I went with the Mel Brooks plan. I went to the editors on the LA Instances. And I stated, I might like to maintain doing this, however I have to cut back. And the way in which we set it up was – they usually had been on board with that.

And possibly it really works for each of us. I imply, they shed slightly little bit of wage as a result of I raised my hand and stated, I am going to take a pay lower, you understand? Give me a 25% pay lower and I am going to work 9 months out of the 12 months as a substitute of 12. And so they stated, OK. After which I accomplished the primary 12 months. And there is the opportunity of happening to two-thirds after which to one-half. So it is like gradual – it is like I am on coaching wheels, headed into retirement and undecided when I will fall off the bike. However for now, it has labored as a result of with that additional time, I acquired to go and see Caroline play tennis in faculty and spend extra time together with her and with Alison’s (ph) mom, Nancy (ph), in Pennsylvania and see my son, Andrew, in Connecticut slightly bit extra. So it isn’t unhealthy. I do have, as Mel put it, I feel, the most effective of each worlds.

DAVIES: Effectively, Steve Lopez, good luck in winding down. Thanks for talking with us once more.

LOPEZ: Thanks a lot. I actually loved it.

DAVIES: Steve Lopez is a columnist for the Los Angeles Instances. His new e book about contemplating retirement is “Independence Day: What I Realized About Retirement From Some Who’ve Performed It And Some Who By no means Will.” Arising, Maureen Corrigan evaluations “Foster,” a novella by Irish author Claire Keegan. That is FRESH AIR.


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