written by Michael W. Hinkle

As a newcomer to Boomer Living’s family of contributors, let me lay out my purpose in writing this column. My aim is to promote the spread of the “Type R” personality. The stage for this endeavor was set in April, 2005 when I retired after a twenty-five-year career in law. No need to dwell on details here, but let me just say that litigation, my field of concentration, is a magnet for “Type A” personalities. The American Dictionary of Cultural Literacy defines “Type A Personality” as: “A temperament marked by excessive competitiveness and ambition, an obsession with accomplishing tasks quickly, little time for self-reflection, and strong need to control situations.”

My experience brought me into contact with topflight litigators from all parts of the United States and they were all, irrespective of age or gender, textbook “Type A’s”.

For the first fifteen years of my practice, I noticed there were two types of litigators: Those who were practicing and those who were dead. Of the many hundreds of trial lawyers I dealt with through the years, only one retired; and for him, retirement was a bad fit. He migrated for awhile with waning enthusiasm from golf course to golf course. Then he died.

But as we well know, “Type A’s” are not limited to the ranks of lawyers. They collect like moths at the upper levels of any high pressure, high return profession. Bankers, doctors, manufacturers, land developers, generals, deans, song writers, inn keepers and inventers all have their share of “Type A’s” in the thin air of the loftier summits. Once they retire—because they choose to or are made to—“Type A’s” very often gravitate to one of two paths. They drift into a sad, aimless oblivion, or they transplant their “Type A” attentions to their post-retirement activities; meaning, they’re still ambitious, competitive, obsessed, controlling and lacking in self-awareness.

For me, there’s nothing appealing about either of these paths. So I decided to think it over and get down to a major personality overhaul. I retired from the practice, resigned from the ranks of the “Type A’s” and got busy crafting myself into a “Type R” personality.

Now, don’t bother looking at the dictionary for a definition of “Type R”. It isn’t there—yet. But, the boomer generation is going to put it there.

In this case, the “R” stands for “recreation” in the formative sense. If you break the word down, “recreation” means just what it says: start from scratch and make it over again. Make it better. Recreate.

Never before in the history of mankind have life and circumstance offered such opportunities for honest-to-goodness recreation. As “Baby Boomers” retire, we encounter an amazing assortment of doors just begging to be opened. These doors allow us to detect and discard those aspects of our personalities that stand in the way of a genuine appreciation of who we are and who we can be.

As a generation, we can, thanks to advances in science and medicine, elevate our physical fitness to levels never imagined by “senior citizens” of past eras. We can, through the amazing gifts of modern technology, range to the farthest reaches of cyber-space to discover and enjoy a dazzling array of music, new and old. We have portable devices that, with the touch of a finger, give us access to the great libraries of the world.

There are virtually no limits to the things we can learn and experience in our post-retirement recreation. My own discoveries make me an evangelist touting the benefits of joining the ranks of “Type R’s”. Since 2005, I’ve made eye-opening journeys to Europe, Africa and the Middle East. I’ve made numerous cross-country car trips with life-long friends and family members and found these bonds growing stronger. I write a weekly column for my home-town newspaper, I’ve written a book and an award winning poem. Mary and I have even started learning to do the tango (well, mostly Mary). And now I have the opportunity to share what I’m learning with the readers of Boomer-Living. What a life!

One day, we may look in a dictionary of cultural literacy and find a definition of “Type R” personalities. We can decide for ourselves how it will be defined. That’s it for this month. I’m Hink and I’ll see ya.

Tags: retirement activities, self awareness, self reflection, type a personality

Author's Bio: 

Boomer-Living.com is a unique and innovative internet resource whose goal is to be the most trusted and reliable internet destination for people of the Baby Boomer Generation.

The objective of Boomer-Living® is to "MAKE A DIFFERENCE" by offering valuable information, guidance, tools, and tips, as well as services and products, designed to improve the quality of life for all Baby Boomers.

Boomer-Living.com promotes and highlights the rich and rewarding possibilities available to all members of the Baby Boomer Generation, while strongly supporting the concept of lifelong learning, personal mastery, and self-fulfillment. Join us as we explore the issues, the challenges, and help seize the opportunities facing baby boomers in the 21st Century. www.Boomer-Living.com

Additional Resources covering Baby Boomers can be found at:
Website Directory for Baby Boomers
Articles on Baby Boomers
Products for Baby Boomers
Discussion Board
Boomer Living at Boomer-living.com, the Official Guide To Baby Boomers