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It's Time To Rethink Retirement (Part 2)

| October 11, 2017
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Part 2 of this series of posts is going to center around purpose. Purpose, in the sense of, what is my reason for getting up today? Purpose, as in, what am I going to do today?

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying ‘when you’re retired, everyday is like a Saturday.’ That is a fairly accurate statement, but if you ask me, you still need things to do, even on a Saturday. At least I do. And not just things, but meaningful things. Things to do that will give you purpose!

I’ve often found that when retirees first leave the workforce, they tend to be very excited about the idea of ‘slowing down.’ Who can blame them? In most cases these folks have worked hard for three or four decades. Some with the same companies! After the initial relaxation period wears off , oftentimes reality tends to sink in. The reality that there isn’t much to do anymore. The reality that, for decades, your time was filled with meetings, emails, tasks, travel etc. AKA your time was limited, valuable and, most importantly, for purposes of this article, it was scheduled with stuff you had to do. You got to work at X time, you had lunch at X time and you left for home at X time. Day in, and day out. But now, you’re bored. Now you’re just supposed to completely change your entire lifestyle after 30 years of the same thing? That can be a tough transition for some people.

So, how do you adjust? Well, I think, you need to fill your schedule back up. But, here’s the fun part about retirement: you get to fill your schedule back up with things YOU WANTTO DO. Not only fun things, but things that will also give you purpose. A reason to wake up each day.

How do you find purpose? This where the fun comes into play. Here are some activities that virtually any retiree can take part in, that can be fun, purposeful, and meaningful.

  • Join a pickleball league.
  • Volunteer at a pet shelter.
  • Write a book. (I’d venture to guess that after a 30 year career you’ve got an overflow of knowledge and experience to offer on a topic or two)
  • Sign up for adult learning courses. (there are two such programs in my mid-sized city)
  • Help your kids out at their household.
  • Watch your grandkid(s) if you have them. (A recent study indicated that it may help you live longer!)
  • Join a reading club. (It may help you stay mentally sharp)
  • Entrech yourself as much as possible in your hobby(s).
  • Find some new hobbies.
  • Start a blog and write about your experiences and/or areas of expertise. (If I can do it, so can you. Trust me.)
  • Visit your family. (Kids, cousins, siblings etc)
  • Join a gym.
  • Take exotic cooking classes.

Alright, I think you get what I’m trying to say. At least I hope so.

The Social Security Administration considers the full retirement age for a majority of Americans to be 66 years old. The average life expectancy of American women is 86.6 years. For us guys it’s 84.3 years. Lots of folks live 100 years. That’s a lot of time to just sit around and do nothing. Sounds fairly boring to me. I’ve seen people that retire, and then and seemingly just sit around and wait to die. It’s pretty depressing to witness. Personally, I believe having purpose may be able to remedy that type of retirement.

Don’t be one of those people. Each day is a gift. We each have 24 hours to do things. 16 hours if you take away a good night’s sleep. Use those 16 hours to the fullest. Do things you want to do. Do things you enjoy doing. Do things that give you purpose. They call these the ‘golden years’ for a reason. Make them count. Make them ‘golden,’ because you’ll never get them back.

Okay. That's it. I'm done. 

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