Not so long ago retirement was viewed by many people as the beginning of the end. Upon reaching age 65, your days of being an active contributor to society were pretty much over. What lay ahead was a peaceful existence, free from stress and anxiety, that was filled with time to relax and enjoy memories of earlier glories.
For those of us fortunate enough to live the retired life today, the picture is very different. Today’s retirees are not satisfied with passively watching life from the sidelines. We finally have the time to do as we please and have plenty we still want to accomplish. Although we’re not quite as energetic as we were at 20, we are far from out of the game. Here are some of the ways baby boomers are choosing to spend their retirement years.
Renew family ties. Many of us had to sacrifice family time in order to fulfill the requirements of our careers. Our calendars and free time – what little there may have been – were rarely in our control. We sacrificed attendance at little league games and ballet recitals because the job required it. Although we cannot make up those missed events, we now have the opportunity to spend as much time as we want with those we love. We may have missed out when it came to our own children, but there can be a second chance when grandchildren arrive. This time around we can be front and center for important moments. We can be part of the picture instead of wistfully viewing photos after the fact. Hopefully, now that we have the time, our children will be able to fit us into their own busy schedules and commitments.
Pursue work you enjoy. Some people prefer to keep working in some capacity in retirement. For them the job offers excitement and challenge they want to sustain in later life. Many people also wish to continue experiencing the camaraderie found interacting with co-workers. A meaningful job can offer someplace to go each day with measurable results for effort spent. Older workers who are unable to stay at their current job are free to investigate a new career or pursue a passion they were unable to do while tied to a regular job. In retirement you have a greater degree of freedom to chart the course you prefer.
Populate your perfect calendar. In retirement you become master of your calendar. You get to choose how you spend your days. Some people whose earlier life may have been perpetually hectic may find themselves with a wide open calendar. The less booked you are, the more freedom you have to choose how to spend each day. However, you could also choose to fill in the blanks with various activities. But in retirement you are able to include only what you really want to be doing. Tedious meetings can be replaced with new travel adventures. Cocktail parties need only happen with people you actually want to spend time with. As keeper of your calendar, you only commit to what you want to be doing. You can schedule as much or as little as you choose.
Get better at something you love. In my retirement I am committed to spending more time playing the piano. Lessons from earlier years come back to me when I put in some practice time. In recent years, I have discovered a previously hidden affinity for Paris. As a retiree I am learning its history and practicing its language. My sister has a passion for yoga and is going through training so she can become an instructor. She plans to focus on those over 50. Your retirement can be a time to refocus on what you love.
Take time for you. Retirement is the perfect opportunity to set aside time for personal reflection. That elusive downtime we used to dream of is now within our grasp. But if you do not make a conscious effort and take appropriate steps, you may find the hours slipping by without doing anything you find worthwhile. While working it was not always possible to stop and take a breath. In retirement, the day’s activities are in your control, and it is up to you to take time for yourself.
From my blog on US News & World.