I was so flattered when a delightful college student requested an interview with me about my freelance work. I was less flattered when I found out she was targeting freelancers who are over the age of 60 and still slugging it out in the land of online work.
Her thesis is based on the older workforce and how they are adapting and surviving in the changing workforce. I took computer programming courses in college in the 70s. Humph.
On the other hand, she raised some very valid points that I have given great thought to since our little chat. She asked me if I thought I would retire, and she wanted to know what challenges I face as an older freelancer.
No. I told her that I would never retire, and it had nothing to do with money.
It had everything to do with my desire to continue to explore new things and teach myself new tricks.
For as long as I can remember, I have been writing something. Whether it’s a To Do list, a non-fiction book or a novel, my pen has been to paper even in the digital age. I suspect I will be writing on my very last day. My last words might be “Give me a pen and paper”.
Also as long as I can remember, I always wanted to learn more about things like computer programming and accounting. I also have taken as many copywriting courses as I can, as well as bead making and polymer clay technique classes. It’s always about what interests me at any given time, which is why I write trivia and hosted trivia on MSN when they were a fledgling website with chat rooms back in the 1990s. It’s why I learned to hard code websites at the same time.
I don’t see my desire to learn changing at any time in my life, which brings me to the challenges of working while 60+.
Challenges of Older Online Workers
The first thing I noticed was how small the type was in my word processor. Then the ache in my shoulder and wrist, and then my legs being weak after I got up.
Those are real, physical problems that come with age in general, but they are amplified when you sit at your desk too long or use a mouse for how many years now? Each of these things can be fixed with new glasses, a larger font on the computer screen and even some exercise between paragraphs. I do have a treadmill in my office. Also, I just underwent carpal tunnel surgery for my mouse hand.
The other challenges are not so easy to see, feel or diagnose.
Your brain ages as you do, so it’s only natural that it will start to forget things or derail your thought processes. It can also make learning more difficult, which can affect the jobs you take, the content you write and the way that you interact with clients. It can also challenge you when it comes to learning new things like how to Zoom or use Google meet.
If you have any type of underlying medical condition, you can also experience confusion or the ability to speak coherently.
Since an aging brain is inevitable, I am committed to doing what I can to keep it always learning with classes, puzzles, games, writing and other brain games.
Yes, I am still freelancing after 60, and I don’t anticipate quitting any time soon, especially since I can take my work with me wherever I go.
In addition to Wordle, Sudko, Crosswords and other puzzles, I also find time to take classes from Udemy Academy.
If you’re looking for some side jobs that will help you keep your brain sharp, then open an account at Fivver and put out your shingle. There are so many remote jobs to choose from that you're sure to find something to stimulate your brain and put a couple dollars in the bank.