For over a year, this blog has answered to the name of So When Are You Going to Retire? That’s what people kept asking my octogenarian in-laws who inspired this project — and who can’t quit, as I keep reminding them, because they have children to support.
Now, in keeping with the shift to a more personal voice, I’ve changed the title from the solidly pragmatic So When Are You Going to Retire? to the more abstract and higher-attitude Staying Vertical: Dispatches from the Old Old on Work and Happiness. As my friends will attest, “Stay vertical!” has been a catchphrase of mine for years — an exhortation to get up, keep up, stay out, stay out late — to resist inertia. It needn’t be taken literally: staying vertical is a state of mind. That spirit is embodied by the people in these pages. Aging makes it harder to stay physically vertical. But whether the flesh is weak or strong, every day carries each of us further into this terra incognita. Aging is a frontier — hence “dispatches” — and these are my scouts.