Work: it’s always something

In the late 1960s, I worked with Gilda Radner in downtown Toronto. Around 1965, I first met Gilda in Ann Arbor Michigan, with my friend Jeff Rubinoff (from London Ontario) where they had staged a college production of The Fantasticks. When Gilda and Jeff moved to Toronto, we all needed part-time jobs to support our artistic and creative endeavours. Most of us lived in boarding houses and we didn’t move into apartments until after we were married. I don’t think we aspired to purchase homes, buy cars or live in the suburbs. We were creative gypsies and that was our lifestyle choice.

Some unfortunate pharmacy manager thought it was a good idea to hire Gilda and I for the cosmetics counter at the Colonnade Drugstore.

We quickly developed our unique sales techniques and creative promotions not always appreciated by other staff and customers. And, of course, Gilda was super talented at working up new ideas for the many things that could go wrong with makeup application. Her energy was too large for that drugstore. Needless to say, we did not last long but we sure had a lot of fun. After that job, Gilda went on to perform in Godspell with Victor Garber, another Londoner, and then Second City and SNL.

Godspell Toronto Cast

Part-time work can serve as a bridge to a new career or an encore career in later life. Part-time work might be unrelated to our true passions and interests. Sometimes life gets in the way of following our true bliss in the timeframes wanted or expected. As Gilda said “It’s always something……”


So what does this have to do with older adults fulfilling their creative potential in the second half of life?

Many folks do not pursue their creative passions until retirement – after they’ve worked and saved a lifetime for the opportunity of spending time and other resources as they please. I call them the champions of deferred gratification. Essentially they did what was expected of them – paying the mortgage and raising kids. I’m honoured to work with some of these late bloomers. They become full-time artists and performers in their later years, they contribute to their communities and they live in present moment bliss – and they’re brimming with gratitude and community spirit.

Some will have meaningful part time or seasonal work to enhance their retirement income. They too are deconstructing the idea of traditional retirement for future generations.

Late blooming boomers rock!

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