Steve Lopez: California’s population is getting older… and so is he.

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“You go through so many different phases in your life, trying to figure out what it's all about, what you want to be when you grow up. It's all a learning experience,” says LA Times columnist Steve Lopez. “As a journalist, I've been in a graduate program for 50 years learning about different people and different things, and it's been a wonderful, wonderful education.” Photo from Shutterstock

LA Times columnist Steve Lopez has a pacemaker and two bad knees, but he still finds the blessings alongside the burdens of aging in his new book, “Independence Day: What I Learned About Retirement from Some Who’ve Done It and Some Who Never Will.”

In the next several years, the world (including California) will have more people who are older than 65 than who are younger than 18, a phenomenon that Lopez says is under-reported, even by the newspaper he works for — and why in January he launched his new LA Times column “Golden State,” a very intentional double entendre.  

Lopez began research for his book on its titular holiday, yielding yet another double entendre nodding to how retirement is often welcomed as a new kind of freedom. But Lopez doesn’t want that kind of freedom; he loves what he’s doing and says that he feels privileged to do it, especially given the demise of the newspaper industry. His book itself is an example of how he begins writing his column by interviewing people with different points of view. 

Lopez’s subjects range from the disappointed residents of a retirement community to Norman Lear and Mel Brooks, who are still going strong in their 90s. He also looks at the available options for his own retirement and reveals what he’s decided to do. 




Warren Olney


Andrea Brody