My motivator to rethinking retirement is a culmination of years of my own personal, work, and business experience as well as talking to other people about their own experiences.
Old Industrial Age Thinking
The stereotypical thinking of some for the perfect retirement is to stop working, pull up your socks, and move to a state like Florida and play golf for the rest of your life. In the Industrial Age when corporations were booming, many corporations could afford to support their workers with a livable wage and nice retirement plan. Today we are in a different age; the Information Age and people are living longer. The rules of the game have changed and this has been a major motivation for some of us to rethink the whole issue of retirement.
Two Unfolding Issues
One of the two issues usually unfolds when relating to the subject of retirement, sometimes both. The first issue is lack of finances. The second is boredom or lack of fulfillment. The first issue can be resolved with better or possibly a more aggressive financial plan. The second issue, boredom or lack of fulfillment, can be explained in the next section more adequately.
Fulfillment vs. Happiness
Where the misconception begins is when we confuse fulfillment with happiness. We somehow have allowed ourselves to be programmed to think that living a lifestyle of recreation will bring happiness. Speaking for the men, many of us have been worked hard and sometimes stressed out from our jobs and all we can tend to think about in our free time is recreation and leisure. However, this can get old and lead to boredom and unfulfillment. We all need to pursue our passions and/or have hobbies, but there are deeper parts of ourselves that long to be fulfilled. I've found part of happiness is appreciating the simple things in life and fulfillment comes through accomplishing our purpose.
We are all unique individuals. We all have a unique combination of gifts, experiences, talents, personality, etc. that can lead us all to have a unique contribution to others around us.
"Retiring into Your Purpose"
I prefer to rethink and define retirement in terms of having more time to pursue what I would term as your "purposeful cause." Here are a few tips to help make this a reality in your life:
- One author/speaker discusses how successful people live their lives in four layers with one of these four layers emphasized during the specific season of their life they are living in. Realize your life will always have some degree of balance as well as seasonal emphasis.
- It's also important to have a personal health care plan that you put into practice to maintain your personal health starting as young as possible. Remember that no amount of money or material gains can replace good health.
- More structured planning on specific days to maintain balance and achieve fulfillment. I've noticed on my days off of working that more structured planning is needed to get things done instead of thoughtlessly drifting from one random task to the next. We can also balance this personal discipline with enjoyable recreation and days or weeks where we need a change of pace by having no plans and/or relaxing.
- Activity type and level can be gauged by personal health and energy levels. If we have more physical challenges as a result of aging, we can pick activities that are appropriate for that level of health and/or energy level. There are creative options, we just need to discover and implement them.
- Leaving a legacy to me means helping change other's lives for the better by using our unique gifts, talent, experiences, etc. This is how we want to end our lives with a legacy of positive change.
We need to redefine retirement in terms of living a balanced life, practicing gratefulness, and finding fulfillment by leaving a positive legacy at the end of our lives.
Have you rethought what your retirement will look like in terms of balancing recreation with structured activity to achieve your purpose thus feeling fulfilled? Do you have a personal health plan? Are your planned activities appropriate for your health and energy levels? Overall, how have you redefined retirement from an escape into pleasure to a fulfillment of legacy?