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WATCH: Discovering the Surprises of Retirement … and Unretirement

Four artists share personal takes on where life is taking them


Part of the Vitality Arts Special Report

Stories about retirement and unretirement are perennially popular on Next Avenue; readers are always curious about just what the transition, or “graduation,” to a new phase of life will hold. Sometimes, the answer is: “Not what was expected.”

In this series of videos, called “Welcome Graduates,” four people who have built careers as artists and who continue in those roles — sometimes in different ways — share a bit of their own journeys of discovery about everything life still has to offer.

A Surprising Take on Graduation

As this rousing and congratulatory speech given by poet, teacher and dancer Mary Moore Easter reveals, those who are “graduating” to retirement have much more to celebrate than they may realize.

When Life Doesn’t Unfold as Expected

Nancy Carlson, a celebrated children’s book author, had to adapt to how life radically changed after her husband’s frontotemporal dementia (FTD) diagnosis. Despite having faced a deep loss, Carlson’s story has turned towards opportunities, just not the ones she expected.

Celebrating Three Phases of Retirement


Chris Osgood, a musician on the forefront of the Minneapolis punk rock scene in the late 1970s, carries two types of business cards describing the multi-faceted roles he now has time to enjoy.

Congratulations! It’s Just the Beginning

Rick Shiomi, playwright and former theater director, proudly proclaims his membership in the “unretired retirees” group … and lists all its many benefits.


The “Welcome Graduates” series is produced by Marissa Blahnik and directed by Brennan Vance. These videos were made possible with the support of Aroha Philanthropies.

Julie Pfitzinger, editor of Next Avenue, wearing a light blue shirt in front of a mauve background.
By Julie Pfitzinger
Julie Pfitzinger is the editor for Next Avenue’s lifestyle coverage across the Living and Technology channels. Her journalism career has included feature writing for the Star-Tribune, as well as several local parenting and lifestyle publications, all in the Twin Cities area. Julie also served as managing editor for nine local community lifestyle magazines. She joined Next Avenue in October 2017. Reach her by email her at [email protected].

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