For most of our lives, we have been told that retirement is the ultimate destination. After decades in the workforce, we are told that retirement is a time to relax and enjoy life. If only it were that simple! For starters, most of us are financially unprepared for retirement. In addition, even those of us who saved enough money find retirement less exciting than we thought it would be.
As Robert De Niro’s character says, in the upcoming movie, The Intern, “Retirement is a relentless, ongoing effort in creativity. I tried yoga, learned to cook, bought some plants, took classes in mandarin… I just know there’s a hole in my life – and I need to fill it.”
Here’s the trailer for The Intern. Please take a look and then let’s return to the discussion.
On the surface, The Intern is a film about a 70-year-old man, who comes out of retirement to join a startup. This, of course, presents plenty of opportunities for predictable jokes about older people in the office. But, if you can get past this, The Intern has some important messages.
For starters, the film presents Robert De Niro’s character in a favorable and realistic light. Unlike so many films, which paint older people as feeble, incompetent and mentally slow, The Intern presents a more balanced view. The truth is that older people have so much to offer in the workforce – if they choose to and if they are given a chance.
I also know from personal experiences that cross-generational workplaces are extremely powerful. I started Sixty and Me with my son and my daughter in law. Over the last 3 years, we have combined our talents to grow the community to over 100,000 members. None of us could have done this alone.
Movies have a powerful ability to shape opinions. Whether we like it or not, what we consider “normal” is shaped by what we see on the big screen and read on our computers. I hope that films like The Intern can help to change perceptions about aging. Not all of us will want to return to the workforce in our 70s. But, if we do, I hope that society gives us a shot. We have so much to offer – and we also have plenty to learn from the younger generations.
Did you see The Intern? Do you agree that experience never gets old, and that we have so much to offer to the world? Do you think that Hollywood has a role to play in shaping society’s perceptions of aging? Please join the conversation.