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Published:November 21st, 2011 10:49 EST

"gOld" Nuggets: On Aging and Retirement

By Harry J. Getzov

Harriet Prichard (79) - Wichita, Kansas

"It`s not time to stop."

harriet_prichard_1Harriet is the founder and director of Alternative Gifts International (AGI), an organization dedicated to providing special gifts to disadvantaged people located in all parts of the world. She created the company in the early 1980s and, at 79, was still actively running the show when I visited with her at the AGI offices. Harriet talked openly regarding her feelings about aging and retirement.

Age is a kind of handicap to a degree, especially as you grow older "a certain ageism enters into it, sure. I think there is kind of an attitude that as you pass 65, you should slow down, retire. And I`ve never felt like I wanted to retire," Harriet explains. "Even my board says it to me, and it bothers me, it really does. I don`t want to be replaced; I don`t want to retire today. But now, on the other hand, there`s the realization of this tremendous need to keep this agency moving forward and the board`s thinking is, `We must find a replacement. We must find a new CEO in order to carry on this work.` And, of course, while I understand that, I still want to work. I mean, there is so much marvelous, wonderful work to do that to retire is really just to sit down and stop, and that`s simply not in my way of thinking."

Harriet expresses how she appreciates the need for younger people to take over jobs and to have employment, and she explains that she most certainly does not want to stand in the way of that process. Her solution? At the time of our visit, Harriet was looking for a way to develop a possible secondary role where she would then be able to work on one project at the office and then turn the work of AGI over to a staff that she had already started to develop. Balance "that`s essentially what I`m going to look to create," Harriet says. I`ll probably move my office to my home and leave this building to my staff, and they can then call me whenever they need me and I`ll help them over the bumps," she adds, smiling. "But I`ll still be working. I`ll be focusing on projects that are especially important to me, such as the Haiti project. I still want to be part of that work. It`s not time to stop. Not yet."

Harry J. Getzov is the founder of Eldercation " an organization committed to changing the way our culture views aging and older people. He is also the author of the newly released best-selling book, gOld - The Extraordinary Side of Aging Revealed Through Inspiring Conversations - Available at