Baby boomers are rewriting the rules of retirement. Few envision living a second act mirroring that of their parents. While mom and dad were satisfied with more time on the links and taking life easy, this generation has something different in mind. They will always make time to relax but that is not the main ingredient in their recipe for a fulfilling retirement.
Most of us first entering retirement initially focus on decompressing. After a stressful often times all-consuming career it is important to take a break. No one can run at 110 percent all the time. Our bodies and minds do better when given time to recharge.
Catch your breath. Take time to reflect upon a career spanning decades. It’s likely you have identified certain things you never want to do again. You now know better what motivates you, what gets you exited and ready to rumble. You may have discovered interests you never knew we had, perhaps a hidden passion or two waiting to be explored. Each career is a continuing education, a journey that comes to an official end with retirement. Or does it?
After reclaiming a certain life balance more and more boomers are looking ahead. What do I want to do next? Baby boomers are taking time to be introspective, to examine the life they have lived and imagine what could be. Retirement affords an opportunity to reset, to research and then embark on any of a myriad of possible new adventures. For the able bodied and mentally active retirement is far from the final destination.
Some open their new chapter with a part time job or second career doing what they genuinely care about. If money is not the main issue a new gig can be something they love perhaps similar to my working part time at a wine tasting room. The more adventurous may go so far as to start their own business utilizing skills learned during their career or even something all-together unrelated.
Not all will answer the “what do I do next” with a job. The beauty of this time in our lives is when it comes to how we choose to channel our energies we do not have to follow any script. We can be creative. We can paint outside the lines. We can satisfy our curiosity and try multiple things. We can do what we want with our time. Once the job you have to do is behind you are free to explore or create the “job” you want to do.
When I first retired (unplanned as it was) I was a bit nervous. Without the job, I was not sure what meaningful activities I would engage in. After the initial shock wore off I began to consider my options. I looked into those areas that had interested me in days gone by. Eventually I figured out a routine that occupied the hours and left me feeling somewhat satisfied at the end of the day. But something was missing – there had to be more.
Finding a part time job doing something I enjoy was the perfect solution. Not too many hours, no stress, working with people I like, learning about something I have always been interested in and engaging with happy folk typically vacationing or just celebrating life. I look forward to my next shift – a feeling long missing from those years spent navigating my career.
Retirement is only the beginning. Rather than view it as the end of the show it might be better seen as an encore. There will never be a more perfect time to uncover your particular interest/passion/dream and go for it. There is so much more to do and to be and retirement offers the freedom to explore. Rather than call it quits baby boomers are making their second act a finale worthy of applause.