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.

Your Business Plan For Retirement

Does this scenario sound familiar:

After multiple decades spent pursuing whatever your chosen career you find yourself approaching an age typically associated with retirement. Whether the move to your second act is your decision or otherwise dictated you take the plunge and bravely go where you have never gone before. The initial weeks and months are not always exactly what you expected but gradually you start to get the hang of things.

You attack that to-do list you have been compiling for years. You add to your travel diary by visiting some spots you have long looked forward to exploring. You take another look at some hobbies you left behind due to the hustle and bustle of family life and career. Perhaps you even explore some new interests because heck, you have the time.

And then, maybe a year or two into the journey, you find yourself stalled. Like a ship run aground the initial momentum that drove you smoothly onward peters out. Activities that held your interest are fewer, you are caught up on your projects and you cannot travel every day of every week. That active you with so much to give and so much to do is suddenly on pause.

Don’t despair.

Your mission – should you choose to accept it – is to guide your way back on track to continue living the life you want for the coming decades. You are just getting started so don’t even think of giving up. What if you start to think of retirement as your new job?

From this day forward realize you are running your own business and you are in charge. The success or failure of this oh-so-important start-up depends on your commitment and effort. There has been and will be no more important job in your lifetime.

The mission of your company is straight forward – to build meaning and excitement into your daily life.

As with any start-up you need to dedicate some portion of the day to generating new business. In the case of retirement that translates into broadening and improving your collection of retirement activities and options.

Here are a few ideas to help formulate your business plan for retirement:

- Network – retirement is a time to re-establish connections you have lost over the years whether friends, co-workers, family or whoever. Reach out and engage. Don’t be reluctant to respond to high school or college reunion invites. Follow up with invitations from neighbors or make your own. Who do you want to interact with? Since you now have the freedom and the time you get to choose.

- Get social (media that is) – search Google based upon your interests/passions. Find what might be in place locally by signing up for services such as NextDoor. Check out interesting blogs. See who might be on Facebook and friend those you want. The internet can make reaching out easier – you just have to get comfortable with technology and use common sense.

- Make some cold calls – keep prospecting for new opportunities by reaching out to local organizations that sound interesting. Send an email to introduce yourself or ask pertinent questions.

- Be entrepreneurial – if you have good ideas apply them. You don’t have to wait for someone else. If the particular club or organization that interests you does not exist, start it yourself. Take initiative and put to use those skills and experiences that got you where you are today.

- Expand upon areas that you are already interested in. For example if you like learning a new language add another to the mix (trying to keep the different rules and pronunciations straight is a great brain workout). If you are proud of your flower garden expand into growing vegetables. If you like getting out of the house once a week how about twice? Once you identify what you like to do seeking out related endeavors can be rewarding and fun.

It’s not always simple to come up with activities that engage and make the day feel worthwhile. Retirement is a joy as well as a challenge. Like any other job the more you do it the better you get at doing it. And the benefits of this job are hard to dispute: inspiration to live each day, stimulation of your mind and body, satisfaction with personal achievements, and no time for boredom.

I hope 2016 has been a good year for you and yours. Best wishes for a happy healthy Christmas, a safe exciting New Year, and of course a most enjoyable retirement.