Active Citizenship and Retirement

Dr.Smadar Peled, Head of Active Leisure studies in Bar-Ilan University.
There has always been a separation between one's career and leisure time activi
After all, leisure is intended for rest, relaxation and recharging energies as
opposed to a career that is associated with work and creativity.
Developing a career at work is a foreseen, expected process; it's acceptable that one will channel time and attention to the demands of one's job. With that in mind, there is a need to examine whether it's possible to develop a most satisfying and fulfilling career especially after retiring from work. And can that apply even if the position is not with a financial or public organization? This article tries to examine the possibility of developing a career during the "leisure" time in life, as well as beforehand.

There are those who claim that we are now at the height of the "leisure
era", following the "knowledge era". An examination of our lives reveals that the work period during which we can develop a career extends from 30 to 40 years, at most. The leisure period following those years has been significantly
lengthened because of the longer life expectancy, which had been estimated at the beginning of the twentieth century to be at 65, and has now reached 80
years, or more, in Western countries. And so, without prior preparation, an
extended length of time was added to our lives.
At age 50+, 60+, 70+, Man is at his prime in terms of experience,
abilities, emotional equilibrium. At this point in life, he is also less
troubled financially.
Especially because he is included in the wide category of those who are 50 years of age and above, he can now legitimately occupy himself with non-obligating activities, such as those dealing with topics of health and sports, going to the theatre, watching television, and other widespread leisure time activities.
These are all vital activities but they do not encourage realizing the potential inherent in Man and they do not plant within him/her goals to which one can aspire; they archaracterized by short-term planning.
The question arises whether during this period it is not worthwhile to develop a direction of active and challenging growth that will stimulate renewal; rest and passive enjoyment only should not provide satisfaction to the retiree. The intended direction will create a new identity, above that of the retired person, a new and relevant identity with a future – not only a past. In this way, the retiree will become an active citizen, contributing to himself, as well as to society. The intent of a career during retirement is to create an active leisure time with special characteristics, geared to the individual.
In order to create an identity during this phase, we must set a goal for growth and pave a path of action with the same dedication as we had when establishing a path during the working years. Constructing the path requires perseverance, planning and study, in addition to proper time management during leisure the same way that was done when developing a career at work. But this is the only common denominator between the two paths.
The path paved for leisure activity differs from the path that was paved at work.
The person dealing with leisure activity becomes the center of the activity which he/she then develops, according to his/her own needs and capabilities. The focus is not on the role but on the individual himself! His talents, interests and wants are now the focal point and serve as the starting point for establishing an active leisure career When developing a leisure career, the person acquires a new identity and meaning while creating for himself not only a path, but also a career.Why a "career"?
While searching for a field of interest in the framework of active leisure,
it is advisable to hook up to a social need. If the activity contributes to
society, society will compensate the retiree by gratefulness and
support. Actually, the combination of the special skills of the retiree will
find expression through social benefit, leading to social recognition, esteem,
and perhaps even financial rewards.
The result is that the person dealing with active leisure is fulfilling
a personal need and is even compensated by social rewards, illustrating the
importance of the individual's activity, while encouraging the continuation of
development and the investment in oneself and one's time.
Dr. Smadar Peled is the head of Active Leisure studies in Bar-Ilan University.
She dedicates most of her time to researching this subject and to stimulating a social dialogue on leisure activities.
In September, 2006, Dr. Peled presented the new A.G.L. approach at an ISCAE International Conference in Bamberg, Germany.The subject raised much interest among the colleagues. At the conference, Dr.Peled suggested researching the topic on an international scale.
The purpose of the research is to examine
some questions:-
Whether the 50-75+ age group is aware of its lake of goals.
Whether this group feels a need for new goals.
Is Active Growth in Leisure (A.G.L.) capable of helping members of this age
stratum to create a new identity in leisure.

As to promoting an ongoing international research together, any researcher who is interested in participating is invitedto contact Dr. Smadar Peled directly to receive a sample questionnaire and detailed explanations on the researc that will be conducted this year (2007)