Retire Repurposed

How Bourbon Barrels Teach Us About Retirement

By law, a barrel made with charred oak staves can only be used to make bourbon ONE time. Even though the lifespan of the barrel is up to 60 years, it cannot be used to make bourbon again. The future of the bourbon barrel thereafter parallels the life of a person upon retirement – it must change and cannot be the same. There are three options for the used bourbon barrel and a retiree.

Option #1 – It can get thrown away

The bourbon barrel could simply be discarded. Since, the barrel can’t create bourbon again, it’s rendered useless. Unfortunately, this is the message retirees get from society. The undertones you will hear are “You had your chance. Move over. Now it’s time for the younger generation.” We don’t know which is scarier: the fact that this message is being portrayed or the fact that many retirees believe it. Let me be clear, do not believe this lie!

Option #2 – It can be something different, but similar

While the barrel cannot be used to create bourbon again, it can be used to make other spirits like rum, scotch or tequila. Bourbon barrels can even be used to add flavor to syrups, teas, honey and jams.  Bottom line, the barrel is being used for a different, but similar use. Repurposed retirees can follow a similar model. One of our clients is a retired teacher. She no longer teaches full time in the public school system, but now teaches and creates curriculum for Sunday school programs.

Option #3 – It can be something totally different

The unique look of used bourbon barrel staves make them perfect candidates to be used for other creations including furniture, decorations and skateboards. Yes, skateboards. In our office is a unique skateboard made from charred oak bourbon barrel staves. This skateboard perfectly represents the Repurposed retiree that became something totally different – but is still using their skills, abilities and passions. Another one of our clients is a retired carpenter. He’s always enjoyed working with his hands, but he needed a change upon retirement. Today, he restores cars and helps friends and neighbors repair small engines.

Don’t settle to be thrown on the woodpile.  Whether you choose to become something totally different or a different, but similar version of yourself in retirement, understand you have much to offer. Remember, retirement is not the end; rather the beginning of what could the most purposeful and impactful season of your life.