I retired from Graduate School of Media Design at Keio University at the end of March, this year, as I hit the retirement age of 6X.. I am now experimenting whether I can survive as free lancer without title or status.  (I do not belong to any organization as full time.)  When the organizer of seminars/symposiums where I speak need some title (as the Japanese society is very “status” driven), I asked them to use Professor Emeritus of Hitotsubashi University.

As I hit 6x years of age (in March, to be exact), a few things happened which somewhat shocked and surprised me.  One of them is that I received a letter requiring me to pay for nursing care insurance.  I have known the insurance for my Dad, but I never thought I would have to pay yet!  As I thought about it, I realized that I am one of the “elderly” (accounting for 25% of the total population of Japan?) and thus I need to pay for the nursing care insurance.  (As for pensions, I have been struggling to get document sorted as I have not done much.)

What is good about turning 6X is that I get discounts on private club dues and/or tickets for museums etc.

What happened very recently is related more for the Emeritus status, and not age per se.  I have been serving particular role for the international symposium. I was asked to step down  from the position in the year 2016.  It was nice of them that they informed me now as I could plan.  (I sensed that it was coming when I was asked to do teleconference for reshuffling.)   Thus I was more or less prepared to hear the news, but, I was a bit disappointed, too.

As we talked over the phone, I asked them to let me think whether I would step down this coming year or in the year 2016.  When I got off the phone, I was caught by surprise as to how I felt.  I knew I was “retired” and not “active.” but it was a bit hard to swallow when it happens.

However, after some hours, I realized that I am the one that always says that we need turnover of people, and younger and new people should be assigned.”  So I have to practice what I preach.  This morning, I sent a note asking them to let me step down this coming year.

My discovery from this experience– It is one thing to recommend others to do certain things, but it is another when you face the fact and need to do it yourself.   As I realized it, I felt that the sooner, the better, and this will be a good opportunity for me to try something new.  Sometimes, you do not know what’s coming and how you feel when it happens.