05/13/2013 08:03 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Retire? No Way!

Phyllis Sues

For me retirement means giving up. Half a life. The past dominates and the future is lifeless.
UNLESS, you take on a new project, something you've never done before. Something that stimulates you mentally and physically. Dancing (ballroom), Swing, Latin, Tango, language (foreign), art, musical instrument, Yoga (any level), cooking.


Above all concentrate on getting physically in shape. If you're physically fit you are more likely to take on a new project. If my body is only half awake, depression creeps in and affects me mentally and physically. I have to create something that stimulates my mind. For me, it's music and writing and that never came into my life until I was 73. You don't know what hidden embryos are waiting to be awakened inside this amazing machine. The biggest surprise in my life was writing lyrics, poetry and music at 83 years old.

When I closed my fashion business, retiring was the farthest thing from my mind. I was open, ready and willing to accept something that turned me on and excited me. I was lucky to have a musician mother, who when she died gave me her Steinway grand piano. I learned to play good music, took lessons and was soon on my way to improvising and composing songs and Tangos. At the same time, I was learning to dance the Tango. Ah, Tango, that's the magic word!

I just had my 90th birthday and I'm frequently performing Tangos, writing lyrics, composing music and practicing yoga. If you're learning you are automatically open to "new." And if you're open to "new" you're open to the challenge and ready to enjoy an active and interesting life.

"Retire?" Never! If this is retiring then I'll take it, but I prefer reinvention. Retirement can be a dangerous word, leading to sedentary and boredom. I'm the most active 90 year old I know. I also know, that I'm not the norm. Better is better, than not good enough. Not good enough stops the engine. Better means you have another chance. "Retire?" No way, no how, never! I want to celebrate this life by being creative and active and loving every living thing.

Life is a huge exercise and dedication is part of that exercise. We all can have desire. It's what goes beyond that and that takes drive and energy. You will think I'm making this up, but when I wake up, I sing out loud, "Good morning, good morning, I love this day!"

If I give 100 percent to this day, I will get back 110 percent! I do stretches, then 45 minutes of yoga. It's a wake up call from the universe to me. In order to do something new; one needs something to create the desire. Find your inspiration, something that inspires you to be like that or do that.

When I flew on the trapeze, I wasn't sure my arms would hold me, but the desire to do it was so strong, that I just grabbed the bar and flew. I was 83 years old. It's not the years that stop you from doing something new, it's the mentality.


To introduce and try something new in your life; you need to open your eyes, your ears and your mind. Something new in your life is a wire you should and can grab hold of at any age.

So lighten up, experiment! Go for it! You might surprise yourself. I did and will continue, as long as I can sing " Good morning, good morning, I love this day!"