The newspaper headlines speak grandly of those 60-, 70- and 80-year olds who have persevered and received their college diplomas or taken on responsible jobs, at an advanced age. We usually see their photographs wearing their graduate caps (with tassels) and smiling beatifically. This column is 180 degrees in the opposite direction.
I admire those extra hardworking seniors, but I wish to praise those elders who have stepped down from valuable positions and made way for the younger achievers. Say it anyway you wish. Call it "Letting Go!" or "Passing the Torch," the results are about the same. The older person no longer wishes to lead or be a decision-maker and opts to take to the sidelines and truly retire.
At a meeting last week I tendered my resignation as editor-in-chief of Hamlet Happenings, a condominium newspaper I have worked on for four years. It was a sad parting for me, because I loved and respected my fellow journalists. In Yiddish it is phrased as "Schoen Zeit," it's about time to leave. The other guys will do a great job.
As decisions were being made and implemented, at the session I was quite happy not to have the responsibilities. I will still contribute, but no longer have a strong say in matters. I could participate, but no longer dominate.
I left with a clear head and no weight on my shoulders.
Questions arise from relatives and well-meaning friends - "Does this letting go of responsibility mean the rocking chair and the boob-tube? "Does it mean the retiree has forfeited all rights to intelligent conversation and meaningful dialogue?"
No, it only means that the person is saying "I've had enough! I wish to go in a completely different direction! I am tired of making decisions and defending them against critics! I love the people I have labored with. No hard feelings, let's just go our separate ways!"
Many new arenas are open. Painting, sculpting, Shakespeare, acting, travel, just to name a few. Out with the old, in with the new.