When my grandfather turned up to our seven-a-side football match, aged seventy, in an outdated Birmingham City kit and pristine white trainers, and out-ran opponents under half his age, a fusion of incredulity and respect was etched on the face of everyone on the pitch. Even after playing tennis with him in the months preceding this appearance, his athleticism surprised me. When he turned up the following week, and again the week after that, his appearances began to feel normal. He ended up blending in very well.
We knew he was a one-off. Other people of his age were beginning to grasp the idea of remaining active in retirement. But few could have matched his level of activity.
Across the board, though, retirement is increasingly regarded as a time to play, rather than rest, after a lifetime of work. Retirement is known to bring with it a reduction in physical and mental fatigue(for obvious reasons), so experts advise maintaining a certain level of activity and aiming towards a healthy lifestyle. One of our recent shoots for Getty Images was conceived to acknowledge this growing trend. Our model will turn sixty on his next birthday, and has kept himself in superb shape and at an exemplary level of fitness. Here, we depicted him as a swimmer, reflecting one of the more popular retirement activities.
It’s excellent to see this improvement in lifestyles. Not everyone can be as prolifically active as my grandfather, of course, but the change in attitude is heartening. This BBC article (from 2010) on attitudes towards retirement is revealing for the following quote from an interviewee:
“Life does not stop on retirement – it is the next stage of your own personal development that gives opportunities to meet new people, maintain friendships and help people where needed. Retirement enables me to go birdwatching, walking and cycling. I go to the gym, play table tennis and indoor bowls.”
“The next stage of your own personal development.” That just about sums up the motive behind our shoot.