HAVE A PURPOSE IN RETIREMENT
When I ask people what their thoughts are about retirement a common answer I get is “I don’t know what I’d do with myself self” or as one wife said to me “If he retires, one of us would be dead in 3 months”. We’ve spent the last 40 odd years buried in careers, parenthood, taking care of our parents, and grandparenthood. We haven’t had the time or desire to develop outside interests that we could carry over into our retirement. The result is we don’t have anything to occupy our minds and time when we retire. This can result in boredom, depression, and friction at home especially when we start injecting ourselves into things that have been running just fine without us.
When the topic of retirement planning comes up, most of the time it’s about financial planning. What is left out is planning how we are going to live in retirement and the attitude required. Retirement should not be approached as the end of something, but as the beginning of a new phase of life and that requires a shift in our mindset.
“Retire from work, but not from life”M.K. Soni via Julia Cameron
3 CORE PURSUITS
In an Inc. Magazine article by @jeff-hayden https://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/10-surprisingly-attainable-traits-of-a-very-happy-retirement.html, he recommends having 3.5 core pursuits in retirement. You need 3.5 activities and interests that you can focus your attention on, things that you enjoy and you feel good doing. As an example, my 3 core pursuits (I don’t do .5 of anything very well) are this blog, becoming president of our condo association and maximizing my fitness.
MY 3 CORE PURSUITS
- The blog is fun and challenging at the same time. I enjoy the research I have to do and I’m working hard to take my writing skills out of the Stone Age. There is also the tech education that goes along with it. Learning the software and all the mumbo-jumbo that goes along with it has been interesting.
- My experience as an executive in the construction industry had me being in charge of things. So when an opening of our condo board opened up I threw my hat into the ring. I did a bit of campaigning and at our last annual meeting was elected. I was told that all I had to do was to show up to the monthly meetings. But my nature wouldn’t let that happen. And now that I wiggled my way into being president of the condo association when there are projects going on like roofing, deck replacements, or tree trimming I’m knee-deep in them.
- I wrote in an earlier post about the importance of taking care of your body as you get older.https://yourextrainnings.com/taking-care-of-you-in-order-delay-your-retirement/ I’m committed to fitness and schedule the time to make it happen. I don’t walk every day but my goal is to reach a daily average of 7,500 steps. My January average was 7,488 which included a few days off with the flu, so I’m happy. I also do 3 to 4 days a week of strength training.
“Retirement is a time to experience a fulfilling life derived from many enjoyable and rewarding experiences”Ernie J. Zelinski
You need to be thinking ahead. Don’t enter or approach retirement without having at least a couple of your core pursuits figured out. Give yourself plenty of time. Is there anything you used to love to do but the years have caused you to abandon? I have a neighbor who has a Ph.D. in mathematics and had a solid career teaching. When he was a kid he learned to play the organ at a high level but he drifted away from it as he got older. Later in life, he re-fired his passion for playing music and today he has a great part-time retirement job as music director at our church.
Think back to when you were 13. Was there anything you loved to do? Did you have any hobbies you abandoned as life took over? Can they be converted to retirement pursuits?
Here are some examples:
- Love basketball or softball? Does your local youth sports league need a scorekeeper?
- Like nature walks? Look for a local hiking club to join. I have a neighbor who organizes senior-friendly local hikes.
- Are you an avid reader? Local libraries can use volunteers.
- If you’re into cars, maybe a part-time job at your local auto-parts store would be perfect.
DON’T DRIFT INTO YOUR EXTRA INNINGS / BE INTENTIONAL
When people struggle with downshifting their careers into retirement, a big reason is the sudden lack of purpose. We daydream about the leisure life, sitting out on the deck with a coffee when others are driving to work. It sounds great and it is initially, but slowly, over time avoid starts to grow in your life. The sense of importance, of having a purpose is no longer there. Even though it felt like a burden, the drive to get out of bed in the morning to do your job is gone and could become a problem.
“The joy of retirement comes in those everyday pursuits that embrace the joys of life”Byron Pulsiffer
If you’re like me, around 60 years old, we have on average another 20-30 years to go. I could have another quarter or more of my life in front of me. In order to live these years well, you need a reason to get up in the morning. I’m not talking about perfecting human brain transplants, but I am talking about having core pursuits that keep you engaged in life.
Start today. Take the time to visualize what your retirement years will be like and what would you be doing if you are happy, healthy and loving life. Now get to work creating your 3.5 core pursuits.