Rothman, R. (2005). Early bird a memoir of premature retirement. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster Paperbacks. ISBN: 1-61552-601-3. Paperback, $ 13.
I have many goals that I’m striving to achieve before my time is up. One of the last goals on my list, is to reach retirement and live my final life chapter stress free, doing the things I enjoy. Rodney Rothman decides to fast forward his life and skip strait to retirement, at the age of 28. After the show Rothman was writing for was canceled, he decided to take a break from normal life and see how the other side lives. He finds a retirement community that does not discriminate on him, due to his age, and moves into Boca Raton, which is located in South Florida. Rothman decides to use his time to write a memoir of his experience in the retirement community. Early Bird a Memoir of Premature Retirement is a interesting book that should appeal to all people but is intended for young adults.
Rothman has a great sense of humor that comes through in his writing. His humor doesn’t seem forced and flows well with the story. At times he goes off on tangents that get away from the theme of the book but are entertaining to read. The writing is informal and it often feels as if he is talking strait to the reader. He goes into great detail about the interactions he has with other retirees and his living situation.
Rothman remembers, as a child, visiting his grandparents in their retirement home. He enjoyed the atmosphere and the way everyone lived. He quickly realizes that living in Boca Raton is not be the same as visiting. He finds the retirement crowd to be friendly but weary of him being there. He has a difficult time meeting new people and is intimidated by the other retirees. They have their own cliques that all newcomers, not just Rothman, find hard to become a part of.
Eventually Rothman makes a few friends and is able to become a part of a few cliques. He enjoys interacting with the elderly but finds he can’t spend to much time with any individual. He finds similarities and differences between how everyone lives. He discovers that people don’t change “If they were nice when they were young, then they’re nice when they die, asshole when they were young, asshole dead” (Rothman, 2005 p.167).
Rothman hoped to find that the retiree community had wisdom and inspiration to share with him. He’s disappointed to find that they are just normal people that happen to be old. This is part of the reason Rothman stays so long in the retirement community, he was looking for someone to give him new inspiration.
Rothman learns a lot about himself and discovers he enjoys his old normal life. He finds himself missing his old acquaintances. He has a revelation that by the time he is ready to truly retire all his new elderly friends will have passed away and he will be starting over.
I relate to Rothman because of our similar age and perspectives on life. His book isn’t trying to change the world but give its readers a view into someone else’s life. His time at the retirement community seemed to help him find perspective on life.
This book reminds the reader to take life slowly and live in the present. While retirement may seem relaxing, Rothman finds it brings its own stress. While one of my goals is to retire and live the retired life style, Early Bird a Memoir of Premature Retirement has reminded me to wait for my time.