​​​​​​​The Unending Thrill of Un-Retirement by Robin Trimingham

The Unending Thrill of Un-Retirement by Robin Trimingham

Quite a title today huh?

I wish I could tell you that I can take all the credit for what I am about to write, but the truth is I can’t. What I am about to do is extrapolate on a very brilliant observation once penned by Lewis Carroll in the pages of “Alice Through the Looking Glass”; (the lesser known but most important sequel to “Alice in Wonderland”).

In his looking glass world, Lewis Carroll introduces Alice to the concept of the “un-birthday”; an occasion which can be celebrated on any or all the 364 days in each calendar year which are not in fact your birthday. On an un-birthday, you can have cake, or gifts, or a party with guests, or anything else you like.

In fact, the only thing you can’t have in the looking glass world is an actual birthday. What a concept!

Now this got me thinking about retirement. Until now retirement has been imposed on many people like it was an unending life sentence, and that is sort of absurd when you think about the fact that the act of retiring only lasts as long as it takes you to exit the threshold of your place of work for the last time, cross the parking lot with that box of stuff from your desk that you weren’t ready to part with, and get into your vehicle.

Once you sit in the driver’s seat and fasten the seat belt, the act of retiring is over. Done. Finito.

Put that car in gear and begin to ease out into traffic however, and you are doing something else. You are starting a brand new journey into the land of “Un-Retirement”. – a “looking glass” land with no standard office hours, dress code, deadlines, commuter traffic, or dreaded bosses where you can go anywhere you want, learn anything you want, do anything you want, spend time with whoever you want and even work any way you want.

In Un-Retirement, you can celebrate random Tuesdays, or sunrises, or every page you complete of that novel you always promised yourself you would write. In Un-Retirement you celebrate with others, or send your whole family out for ice cream so that you can have the house to yourself for an hour, or Facetime with your dog. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.

The only thing that you cannot do in Un-Retirement is mope about the house complaining about your hip, or the cost of canned peas, or the weather, or politics, or your crazy relatives (this stuff is only permitted in the delusional world of Retirement and I say delusional because as we have already discussed, retirement is over once you leave the parking lot and I highly doubt that many of you reading this are still sitting in your cars because a concerned relative would have shown up to collect you by now).

Soooo … if you aren’t in the parking lot, then why are you still pretending that you are “retired” instead of getting on with life and living it up in your Un-Retirement?

By Robin Trimingham


Bill Storie and Robin Trimingham are the co-founders of The Olderhood Group Ltd., an online learning company with + 100,000 global followers in over 100 countries. The Leaders in Action video series, produced by Olderhood Productions International (part of The Olderhood Group) features short video interviews with recognized Leaders in multi-national companies, global organizations, and renowned experts in various locations around the world including London, Los Angeles, Mumbai, Singapore, New Delhi, and many others. The Series is published on Olderhood’s social media pages, The Royal Gazette, LinkedIn and through its several Partnership Networks globally to millions of viewers around the world. The Olderhood Group provides life transition, financial literacy and retirement lifestyle planning, education, and training for corporations in the form of videos, podcasts and webinars. The consulting practice focuses on helping companies augment their employee benefits programs, and their customer outreach initiatives, by seamlessly integrating customized workshops, in-house training, and online learning opportunities into their existing platforms.