The Winchester Writers’ Festival, 20-22nd June 2014, held a number of writing competitions. We are very proud to announce that, CHINDI author Jill King, was shortlisted in 2 of these competitions and here is one of her pieces:

Retirement – time for a re-brand?

There’s something about the word retirement that summons up images of retreating from the world, of resignation and retrenchment.  We talk of being ‘pensioned off’ or ‘put out to grass’, in a way that suggests an ending rather than a beginning. Even the term ‘the grey pound’, suggests a lack of colour and excitement.  In a different era, when a long hard working life was followed by a brief spell of relaxation before the grim reaper arrived, maybe it reflected reality more accurately.  But times have changed, and what we need now is a new way of describing a time of life that’s full of opportunities, of new challenges and exciting experiences.  We need a modern-day Don Draper, or a Saatchi campaign, to re-brand the very concept of retirement.

Any self-respecting advertising expert will tell you that words really do matter.  Take the selling of meat for example.  We don’t use the words pig or cow to market a delicious meal. It sounds so much better as pork, as beef, or better still as boeuf.  And when we come to buy a car we choose a model with a name that summons up images of the lifestyle we want it to reflect – from rugged adventures in a Land Rover Discovery to the chic young  Nicole driving her Renault Clio around France. 

So let’s brand this exciting time of life not as retirement but as renaissance: a time for re-awakening neglected talents, for regenerating ourselves by learning new skills or renewing our energy by pushing our physical boundaries to new limits.  It’s a time in which we can revive our interests with the benefit of time and newly found enthusiasm.

To complement the new brand name renaissance a marketing slogan will also be needed,  something that builds on the brand image just like Land Rover’s ‘Built for Adventure’ or Renault’s ‘Va-va Voom’.  It needs to tap into the positive images of this time of life. It should reflect freedom to do those things we’ve wanted to do for so long – to read for pleasure, to travel to exotic places, to learn to play a musical instrument or take up abseiling or bungee jumping.  Freed from the responsibilities of a regular job, from daily child-care and building a nest egg, this can be a truly liberating time; a time for exploration, for adventure and for learning new things. Here then’s the strap line: ‘Renaissance, the time of your life’.  

To complement the new brand name renaissance a marketing slogan will also be needed,  something that builds on the brand image just like Land Rover’s ‘Built for Adventure’ or Renault’s ‘Va-va Voom’.  It needs to tap into the positive images of this time of life. It should reflect freedom to do those things we’ve wanted to do for so long – to read for pleasure, to travel to exotic places, to learn to play a musical instrument or take up abseiling or bungee jumping.  Freed from the responsibilities of a regular job, from daily child-care and building a nest egg, this can be a truly liberating time; a time for exploration, for adventure and for learning new things. Here then’s the strap line: ‘Renaissance, the time of your life’.

At times it feels as though retired people are invisible to younger generations, quickly dismissed as past it, and leading a quiet unexciting life. So next time someone asks ‘Are you retired?’ with a look that assumes you’re  spending your time watching day-time television and having afternoon naps, hold your head up high, smile and reply: ‘Not at all, I’m in my period of renaissance, and having the time of my life.’

At times it feels as though retired people are invisible to younger generations, quickly dismissed as past it, and leading a quiet unexciting life. So next time someone asks ‘Are you retired?’ with a look that assumes you’re  spending your time watching day-time television and having afternoon naps, hold your head up high, smile and reply: ‘Not at all, I’m in my period of renaissance, and having the time of my life.’

Jill King
June 2014

Winchester Writing Competition