Exercise Your Retirement Rights

Living a fulfilling and fun retirement is not always easy but as a retiree you have certain rights. I am not talking about legal rights but rather benefits that are due those of us living retired life. Think more along the lines of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”, those elements that combine to bring quality to our days.

As we enter and begin to explore our second act it is important we realize the importance and make the most of our retirement rights. We want to be happy. We deserve to be happy. What are our rights?

You have the right to your own opinion

Back in the day (employed that is) it is possible your creative inspirations may have fallen upon deaf ears. Some bosses look solely for support of their ideas hence the proliferation of career-ladder-climbing yes men and women. As a retiree no longer concerned with upward mobility you get to call it like it is. You do not have to agree and when you don’t you can say so. Freedom of speech is a genuine privilege to be exploited as you see fit. Your opinion matters and you have a right to it.

You have the right to expand your horizons

Retirement is only the beginning of a portion of life where you are in control. You are not limited to the person you are entering retirement. Rather you have decades to add to your life resume, to improve and modify the mix until you get it just the way you like it. New interests and passions will avail themselves – it is up to each of us to engage. Instead of fearing the unknown we can embrace it, testing the waters of new experiences to add to the persons we are. If we learn to feed our curiosity there is little time for boredom.

You have the right to spend your day doing what you want

In retirement your calendar belongs to you. You are no longer required to attend events that bore or aggravate you. The day starts when you say it does and you manage the game plan. With practice you can learn to strike a balance between active time and down time. It is this balance I think that is so important to insuring a fulfilling retirement. Many have to unlearn decades of following the rules and giving 110% of themselves to the wants and needs of others. In retirement we learn it is okay set your own pace and pay attention to you.

You have the right to take a break

In earlier days when responsible for maintaining family, career and some semblance of sanity the idea of taking a moment to yourself rarely crosses your mind. Sometimes the only speeds available seem to be fast and faster. It is not healthy to live at full speed all the time – you eventually burn out or blow up. In retirement you are captain of your own ship. Should you feel the urge to pull into port and chill awhile, sail on. If pruning those many rose bushes seems too much for right now pull up a lounge chair and rest a bit – they will be there when you return. Getting used to the freedom to do nothing without fear of reprisal or feelings of guilt is a right all retirees should exercise, sooner rather than later

You have the right to spoil those you love

Although not yet a grandparent I cannot think of a better role to play. Enjoy time with grand kids, spoil the heck out of them and then send them back to the parents. With free time retirees are able to spend quality non-rushed hours engaged in meaningful or just fun pursuits with those they love. Imagine focusing your efforts on family and friends without interruption or pressure to do otherwise. That is something worth the wait.

You have the right to say no

If you don’t want to do it, don’t.

You have the right to dance

Or sing or laugh or skip or do whatever pleases you for the moment. You are free to let your inner child out to play when the mood strikes. Don’t worry about impressing others. Don’t concern yourself with what others think. If it feels good just do it.

The thing about retirement rights is you are responsible to see they are enforced. It is up to each retiree to make sure their second act is balanced, meaningful, fun, and memorable. No one is going to do it for us. But what a glorious feeling to have some degree of control over our days.


Is Retirement Your Cup Of Tea?

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.