Retirement – A Pause Before Your Next Adventure

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.

LoveBeingRetired.com

Arthritis Friendly Retirement Activities

Written by Jessica Hegg

Freedom from job obligations is probably one of the biggest advantages of retirement, but the “take this job and shove it” effect is usually only short term.

Apropos of nothing, I’ve always found it interesting that a man who sang about quitting his job chose a stage name like Johnny Paycheck. There is probably a deeper meaning there that eludes me.

Back to the blog. Most of us who retire around 65 can expect to live at least another twenty years, because as they say, 60 is the new 40 and 80 is the new 60. All these days and hours will start to drag unless you have a sense of purpose, and since many of us define ourselves by our occupations, this intentionality is not always easy to find.

Somewhat complicating matters, many of us start experiencing chronic physical illnesses, such as arthritis, in our 60s and 70s. Although arthritis is not fatal or even terribly serious, it can transform previously enjoyable activities into chores. Furthermore, because of unwanted side effects, powerful muscle relaxers or painkillers are often not a very good option.

So, what are some arthritis-friendly ways to not only pass the time as we age, but also help us find purpose and meaning?

Low-Impact Exercises

Physical exercise is important at all ages, and the most recent research suggests that even a little bit of moderate exercise, such as a half-hour of brisk walking four or five days a week, has significant emotional and physical benefits.

Walking is very easy on the joints, so even folks with arthritic knees and/or ankles can do a few laps without much of a problem. A few light stretches after exercising should help ease any lingering discomfort.

No-impact water aerobics may be an option as well, and many people also benefit greatly from senior-friendly yoga classes. Such activities address not only the physical component, but the emotional component as well. Loneliness is a fairly significant problem among older people, even people who are married. Being around like-minded people of a similar age and station in life may help participants feel like they belong somewhere. Many class participants might go on to teach their own classes, thus giving them a sense of purpose.

Aquatic exercises place no strain whatsoever on joints, and yoga stretches might actually reduce arthritis pain, if for no other reason that the participant focuses on something other than achy joints for about a half hour a day.

Art Therapy

Some people communicate better visually than orally, and art therapy is simply an extension of that idea. Primarily, two types of people can benefit from this activity:

  • People who have experienced traumatic events in their lives and need to understand them, and
  • Those who are looking for personal development.

Many retired people fall squarely into that second category.

Similar to yoga, art therapy is a good way to stop thinking about arthritis pain for a few hours a week. As for using arthritic fingers to paint, many people ask “do arthritis gloves work?” The answer is a resounding yes. The compression and heat ease discomfort, and many gloves have no fingers, so fine motor skills, like holding a brush or manipulating a phone, are largely unaffected.

Volunteering

Practically no one has arthritis of the jaw, and there is no such thing as arthritis of the soul, so even more advanced arthritis cannot stand in the way of volunteering for a cause.

To find temporal fulfillment as well as emotional fulfillment, volunteering in this context probably means operating a soup kitchen instead of serving lunch a couple of times a week or being a higher level campaign operative as opposed to an envelope stuffer. While there is certainly nothing wrong with serving lunch or stuffing envelopes, and these activities are vital to their respective organizations, retired people have a near-limitless resource to share (their time), and this resource is arguably more precious than money or anything else.

You did not call in sick due to a head cold while working, and there is no reason to call in sick during retirement either, especially when there are so many available options.

Retirement Advice I Would Give the Twenty Year Old Me

If I only knew then what I know now. Way back when I was 20 thoughts of retirement never crossed my mind. There were plenty other distractions. I could not even imagine being retirement age. But funny thing – here I am.

I have learned a thing or two over the years whether through my personal experience or those of friends and family. If I could share with the 20-year-old-Dave any words of wisdom to prepare for the road ahead, it would go something like this:

Prepare for the non-financial side of retirement

Everyone knows it is critical to save enough to subsidize the retirement lifestyle you hope to live. But too few consider the importance of preparing beyond finances. What will you do to find meaning in your day? Who will you become once you are no longer defined by the person you were on the job? How does your spouse envision retirement? It is too easy to waltz into retirement without preparing for the coming 10 or 20 or more years ahead. Without genuine preparation you risk boredom and dissatisfaction during a time of life that should be anything but.

Hands off retirement savings accounts

Over my 30 year career I moved from job to job quite a bit. One consequence was repeatedly facing the option to cash out 401k accounts. In most cases the temptation proved too great. Too often I withdrew the funds, paid the 10% additional tax fine and had money to do as I wanted. The only good thing is I did not use the money to splurge but rather to pay off bills that had accumulated. Still I sacrificed potential growth over multiple years that could have added to my ultimate retirement nest egg. “Leave it alone and let I grow” would be my suggestion to the younger me.

Don’t count on staying at the same company

In my career as a sales manager focused on start-up companies there was not much latitude when it came to hitting target goals. If quota was not achieved, no matter how unreasonable or inflated the number, your job was on the line. I had a pretty good batting average over all but there were times when missing a quarterly target cost my job.

Message to younger self: be prepared to work at many different companies over your working years. The days of spending an entire career at one place are gone.

Understand the financial realities of retirement

Retirement will not be cheap. According to Fidelity healthcare costs for the average couple retiring in 2016 will ring in at $260,000. Healthcare insurance rates are sky rocketing with double digit yearly increases becoming the accepted norm. Everything is getting more expensive while your income remains fixed.

No one knows what unplanned health event their future may hold. My parents experienced this recently when my dad had a stroke. Initial hospital charges were huge and the bills keep coming. Thankfully they have a Medigap plan which helps pay healthcare costs not covered by Medicare including co-payments and deductibles.

In retirement you want to do those things you have dreamed of. Realizing those dreams will generally not be cheap either. When budgeting don’t forget to account for those things you have been waiting all your life to do.

Note to 20-year-self: put those dollars aside now so you can do all you dream of when you finally have the time to do it.

Getting retirement right takes practice

Since this will be our first time at it, none of us has any real experience being retired. It is possible you may not get everything exactly right from the get go. Be prepared to be dynamic, to go with the flow. Make changes where necessary, try new things, and don’t be too hard on yourself. There is no deadline to get everything right. So long as you continue to learn as you go you are making progress.

Keep exercising

When I was around twenty I began a life-long commitment to good health setting aside time for regular exercise and attempting to eat a decent diet. I would remind the younger me that good habits now will continue to be good habits later in life. Exercise is an important part of any happy retirement. Keep weight training for muscle and bone strength. Continue yoga and stretching for balance and flexibility. Get some cardio to keep the heart healthy. And don’t neglect exercise for your brain one very important “muscle” to keep in shape. The retirement journey will be that much more enjoyable when you are healthy in mind and body.

It might have been helpful to hear these words of wisdom when I was younger. But I cannot complain. I am retired with my wonderful wife in a beautiful part of the world. We are healthy and happy. And I just started a part time job pouring wine at a wonderful little winery walking distance from where we live. All in all, retirement has turned out a-okay for us.

LoveBeingRetired.com