Day 23,691: Heading Up Not Out.

Most ideas about getting older or retirement refer to stopping something. Of course, in retirement, people are generally stopping their current type of employment. Not always, however.

Sometimes people stop work at one place – officially retiring – but do the exact same work with another firm for a change of scenery if not change of pace. I’ve personally retired twice this way.

Another way is to move up into a different version of the same work. In my current place, our last chief engineer retired only to go to work for a consulting company and be reassigned to us. He shows up occasionally with papers and tools in hand and a very big smile on his face.  He now gets to come and go, with the emphasis on “go” after an occasional day of work at our site.

Retirement, code word for aging, is frequently associated with slowing down or leveling off. What if, instead, it was seen as leveling up?

Leveling up is a term from the gaming community. The best games keep you interested over time because as you complete one level, you level up to the next series of challenges or levels. You don’t get bored doing the same tasks over and over again, and you feel like your progressing in skills.

Aging should be defined, I think, as leveling up. You retain the skills you’ve learned in prior life phases, and add one or two new goals/challenges as you approach new levels. If you’re a business writer, perhaps you get a chance to try poetry, or writing fiction. If you’re a graphic designer, perhaps you get to paint with oils on real canvases instead of Photoshop on a computer.

Religious folks might go so far as to define dying- the ultimate end of aging – as going to heaven, or the ultimate Leveling Up.  New Agers might see it as reaching a higher vibrational status outside of our current physical reality. Scientists might skoff at both ideas altogether, but would be the first to admit that new scientific theories are generally built upon a knowledge base amassed to date, which allows newer teams to level up our overall understanding of how the universe works.

With this blog, I’ve leveled up to daily posting. I’m also leveling up and paying for higher levels of WordPress tools and committing to better use of higher quality graphics. With the new tools, readers can sign up for auto email notifications, will be spared WordPress ads, and hopefully soon have easier ways to share and print posts.

Meanwhile, in the gaming world, I’m in a race with “Blacqula,” whoever she is, to retain 7th place on my Jersey Girls team in Toon Blast. She’s right on my heels, and likely will push me back a spot, but at least I’m having fun outpacing her to date. It’s likely because I’m closer to retirement, aka “leveling up” than she is!

Staying Focused on Common Sense Gun Sanity:  Additional students at Marjory Stoneham Douglas are starting supplementary movements to #NeverAgain. Two have initiated the contract Parents Promise to Kids or #PPTK.  It’s leveling up – kids asking adults to sign a contract promising  to vote for gun control candidates in the next election. See a copy of the contract on their web site (parentspromisetokids.org) or Twitter site @ParentsPromise. Sign it and take a selfie of yourself with it to post to their page.  It’s free, supports their effort, and makes a statement about the growing number of people staying committed to both the cause and these kids.