I worked with a very distinguished old architect who learned his trade under Sir Basil Spence after the war. He was 73 when we engaged him and 76 when he completed the building. He didn't use CAD, of course; he would sketch freehand with astonishing accuracy and a minion would digitise the product. He gave me one of the few buildings I've ever been 100% happy with. As we were snagging, he was already busy on his next commission. He would die in harness, I thought, hopefully sometime after RIBA stage E. His work was his life.
Not so the vast bulk of the population. There is a sense of entitlement and every year we have to work beyond 50 is resented. We expect a healthcare system to see us through to our century, and spend the intervening 50 years playing golf. This mindset is so deeply engrained that to dismantle it is going to be extremely painful - particularly to my generation, who honestly expect the young, the new poor, to bear the entire cost of the boomers' continuing comfort. They won't.
I'm actively looking now to make the transition into a second, less intensive phase of my working life, a mix of something like restoring ancient buildings and rebuilding old boats with a couple of £600 a day consultancy days a month thrown in, or some commercial writing. And plenty of beer and fishing time around it all. If I get it right, 'retirement' will become meaningless. And this, I think, is the way we must all start thinking.