Steve Lopez is 67 years old. A longtime columnist for the Los Angeles Times, Steve has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize so often that they should create an award solely for him. Steve loves his job and the jolt of energy he gets from writing a column that serves as a catalyst for conversation. But he wonders what it might be like to live without ever-present deadlines hanging over his head. If his knees hold out, he’d like to play more tennis, to travel, to hike. With his daughter going to college in the fall, he and his wife will have an empty house and the time to reshape their newfound freedom.
Lopez realizes that the end of his work life is getting close. It’s hard to accept. And is he ready?
In Independence Day, Lopez uses his reporter skills not only to look inward but also to interview those who have chosen to extend their working life to its (il)logical extreme–people like Mel Brooks, still working at 94, or government worker Mary Lee, who is 100 and still goes to the office every day, as she has for 70 years.
However, there are scientific reasons to retire, as outlined by the psychiatrist, two aging scientists, and geriatric specialist (all over the age of 75 themselves) he taps for their insight.
And of course, he talks to people who are happily retired–who have reinvented themselves outside of the constraints of work–and those who would like to retire but can’t because of the financial realities of our declining economy and shrinking Social Security safety net.
With his trademark poignancy, wisdom, and humor, Lopez establishes a useful polemic for himself and others in planning ahead, as he also examines questions of identity, financial limitations, and what to do with your wild and precious life when the obituary pages are no longer filled with strangers.
Publisher: Harper Horizon
Pub Date: 09/2022