One thing I have learned about retirement it is rarely what you expect. No matter how diligent your efforts to prepare for your second act there’s no way to account for all the possible outcomes. It’s scary not knowing what to expect. If you are a person who only feels comfortable while in control even more so. I guess a positive side to the situation may be it is hard to be bored with such an unpredictable future.
No matter what uncertainty I remain a proponent of the joys of retired life. There is nothing better than getting up each day knowing what you choose to do is up to you. The pace at which you partake is yours to set. Deadlines are dead! Flexibility is the new go word – do what you want when you want for as long as you want. There is time for a nap. There is time to dig into those interests you may not have even known you had. You can get better at things that matter to you. Each New Year can truly be a new year.
Are you ready to make the most of your retirement?
Are you able to find meaning outside of your job?
After decades playing a particular role within a defined career some find it difficult to separate the working-you from the retired-you. They come to identify who they are with what they do on the job. Successes in life are defined by work achievements. One’s status is based upon where they reside in the corporate hierarchy. It can be confusing to start over with an undefined and alien role to fulfill.
Those most successful at the retired game learn to move on. Rather than dwell on who you were they try looking toward who you can be. Big offices and fancy titles don’t matter to retired folk. Rather, what you are passionate about takes center stage. Shared interests kindle relationships. Spending time with people you enjoy and want to be with is your prerogative.
For me a happy retiree is one blessed with many healthy years free from restrictions imposed by a job, free to explore new activities and adventures while growing into an independent individual defined by who he is rather than what he does.
Are you sufficiently creative to fill your hours with activities you enjoy?
No one wants to be bored in retirement. Keep busy, take advantage of your free time and make the most of your second act! Not a bad mantra but not necessarily easy to realize. I think creativity is a big part. It helps if you are willing to try new things, to step outside of restrictive comfort zones and to explore. Allow yourself to make mistakes. Don’t be worried about what others say – you are doing this for you. Follow your curiosity.
Do you need others around you to be happy?
I am someone who can usually entertain himself handily without the assistance of others. My wife is much more social and enjoys interacting more frequently with neighbors and friends. Knowing which way you lean can help better direct you toward what is most satisfying to you personally. It is healthy to interact with others, to feel part of a community and share the moments – good as well as bad. Independence is good but you can’t always do it on your own. Being part of a group allows you to share common interests while supporting one another in the many adventures and challenges retirement promises.
Are you okay doing nothing?
Most recently retired people I talk with describe feeling challenged adapting to a “less productive” post-career life. Wasting time is a big no-no conditioned into their psyche from the early days. How do they slow down without feeling guilty? It can take time to accept it is okay to do nothing. As a matter of fact it can even feel good!
The beauty of retirement is you have the power to create a balance between activity and down time. Whatever works for you is right for you. It’s fine to be productive but equally okay to chill. Finding that balance just right for you will go a long way toward shaping a first-rate retirement.
Retirement is great. What is perfect for me may not work for you and visa versa. That’s why the freedom each of us enjoys to create our own personal perfect retirement is so amazing. We do not have to follow any rigid plan. We can adapt and make changes along the way. We can tweak it until we get it just right. And once we do retirement living is hard to beat. With a little luck and reasonable effort retirement can most definitely be your cup of tea.