Retirement for a changemaker?

When I started working full-time I did what any responsible young professional is supposed to do - I started saving for retirement. It’s what everyone told me to do. I was doing the right thing. I was way ahead of the game. I was investing in my future.

But what is retirement, really? A magical birthday when I quit my job and do what I want to do with my life? The year I decide I’ve put in my time? Let’s set aside the fact that this dream is less and less a financial reality. I'm working on big and exciting things in my life, and I don’t know how I feel about retiring from them.

For those of us working to create a better world, the idea of deciding we’ve done enough and retiring seems a little strange. There’s so much to do! Maybe the work changes. Maybe the time commitment changes. But this kind of work aligns so well with my purpose and brings me so much joy. Why would I stop? Sure it’s work sometimes, but so is everything else, even retirement.

The sad reality is that the things I care most about – redefining capitalism, reaching global sustainability, helping others find purpose in their lives – aren’t going to be solved in my lifetime. I’m committed to making as much progress on them as I can, but I could work on them every day for the rest of my life and still not see an outcome I deem a success. I’m excited to make a little progress each day and empower others to work on it with me.

So why am I saving for retirement?