Paths to Creative Retirement Conference with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute


You may remember our blog post from February 10, 2014 about the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) offered at California State University Fresno.  It is supported by the Bernard Osher Foundation and created exclusively for adults age 50+ eager to pursue erudition.  There are no entrance requirements, grades nor exams; so “students” can learn in a relaxed atmosphere.   The OLLI offers General Sessions and Short Courses that are open to members only, along with Field Trips that are open to members and non-members.

Two of our clients attended a three-day Osher Lifelong Learning Institute conference in Asheville, NC last August.

The subject of this conference was “Path to Creative Retirement”.  Its purpose was to provide a facilitated environment for participants to explore their options regarding planning for retirement.  The emphasis was not on financial matters. Instead, the focus was on creating a set of values and goals to enhance the quality of this time of life.

During the retreat, participants attended interactive sessions and exchanged ideas.  Facilitators were retired volunteers trained to lead sessions.  They shared their own experiences, and challenged the participants to step outside of their comfort zone.  They even followed up with our clients three months and six months after the conference.

During those three days, participants were given a Retirement awareness quiz to assess their knowledge of retirement trends in the US before attending several small group discussions, and workshops.  For example, in the “Mansion of the Soul” workshop, our clients were given the plan of a mansion.  Each room represented an area of life (kitchen was lifestyle maintenance; garage was travel and hobbies etc.).  Our clients were asked to allocate percentages to these areas to mirror their current time allocation and compare it to their desired future time allocation.  They reflected on ways to achieve these new goals by assessing obstacles, opportunities, shifting values, and the impact on their loved ones.  Another workshop called “RE-Locate” helped participants brainstorm a list of criteria for a new location, prioritize those criteria, and develop a list of tangible requirements for each criterion.  For example, excellent health care might require a hospital with a national ranking, licensed health care practitioners, etc.

One client said the conference “did not change any of my plans or preconceived notions.  It only confirmed and solidified my plans for retirement.”  He is now more confident.  The whole experience was about questioning one’s perspective on retirement.  His favorite way of expressing that next stage of life is the word “rebooting”.  He explains that when we reboot a computer, the programs are still there, they don’t change, but we might choose not to open some and to add new ones.

His wife approached the retreat in a different manner.  She was, at first, reluctant to think about or discuss retirement, but after two and one half days, she realized that she had better tools in place to assist her in this next phase of life and felt ready to handle retirement.

Both clients highly recommend this retreat.  The facilitators were helpful; they were able to answer many questions.  Overall, they had a great experience in a beautiful setting.

You may read more information on the OLLI website :