ReFirement at Any Age: Add Refirement to the dictionary

By Gail Supplee Tatum, Columnist, The Times

Hundreds of words are added to the dictionary every year. Some make sense and others are downright outrageous, in my opinion.

Having said that, there are some words that should absolutely be added, in order to adhere with the current state of what is happening in the world and how society is altering their lifestyle to meet it. I’m suggesting that refire and refirement be added to the dictionary.

In order to set this up properly, know that my earlier articles were entitled, “Don’t Retire – ReFire”.

The verb, retire, and the noun, retirement, have become dated, hence, my suggestion to change them.

In speaking of her own retirement, Serena Williams said she never liked the word retirement. She said it doesn’t feel like a modern word to her. I whole-heartedly agree! Serena likes to describe retirement as more of a transition. Bravo!

To put both definitions in perspective, the verb retire means to cease to work, typically upon reaching the normal age for leaving employment; to withdraw. How would you interpret that definition? My interpretation of it is to no longer have purpose, to be put out to pasture, to no longer be needed, and no longer be a necessary part of society.

The noun retirement means the time in one’s life when one chooses to permanently leave the workforce behind. Once left behind, what is that person to do?

Both meanings are just so far from actuality, plus research has shown that it is not healthy to abruptly stop working and suddenly have no purpose.

If I were getting ready to retire and I was reading up on exactly what it means to retire and I read these definitions, it would be quite disconcerting! Again, my desire to offer a more enticing definition to the modern words, refire and refirement.

Interesting fact, retirement is one of the words which the English language appropriated from the French, around the 16th century. It was originally used in the military sense; i.e. “to withdraw to a place of safety or seclusion (from the French ‘re’ (back) and ‘tirer’ (to draw)).

Let’s get out of that 16th century, stifling, antiquated mindset, shall we?  The 21st century version of retire and retirement should be replaced with refire and refirement.

The verb refire could be defined as, to renew, reinvent, awaken, to transition and the noun, refirement, as the action of evolving away from one thing toward other things that are more important at a particular time in your life and doing what sets your soul on fire!

From a personal perspective, I continue to refire and live a purposeful life.

The truth is, whether you’re still working or if you were thinking about leaving your current job to pursue your true passion, fill your life with all that brings you joy. Never, ever look at your life as over. It ain’t over ‘til it’s over and that will be the day you take your last breath.

In closing, I encourage you to take time to figure out how YOU would define this new exciting time in your life that you’re entering.

By the way, refire and refirement isn’t just for those leaving the jobs they’ve had for years, it also applies to those who are looking to take a step towards a new venture that has been brewing deep in their soul.

Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire. Jennifer Lee, American film director and screenwriter

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