Demise and Surprise
I'll be the first to say it... I didn't expect fireworks or a parade when I announced my retirement to occur on the last day of 2019. During the 17 years I'd acted as Creative Director for a communications firm in central Pennsylvania, I hadn't thought much about what would happen when I arrived at retirement (two months short of my 70th birthday, I might add). But, being downright honest, I DID expect a few folks to congratulate me... to offer words of appreciation... to console me. But, when my boss emailed everyone I was done, a single person sent me an email of acknowledgement. One. A guy I didn't even know that well. Sadly, I guess that's how life is. You're born. You grow up. You get educated. You have experiences. You garner awards. Your work gets placed in a few art museums. You make other people money. You pay the bills. You care for your family. Then... that's it. No fireworks. No parade. Not even thanks. Just a collective silence. Is it 'the times?' Or, was I living under a blanket of belief that I actually mattered when, all along, I only took up space like most everyone else and no one noticed anything I'd done? I know a few people cared... and noticed. I made their lives easier and made them money. So, even without them saying, I know they noticed. One recommendation to all those art schools out there pumping out graphic designers, photographers, videographers, and writers: along with all the bullshit courses about design theory... offer your students a few courses in financial investment. A word about 401k. Something about Roth IRAs. Otherwise, you're lying like everyone else around me for whom I worked for and lined their pockets. It's true, sharing my experience and expertise with newbies just out of school can be gratifying... but I'm the one now living off social security and wondering if I can afford health insurance.