The Tale of Two Retirements

In the United States the retirement populations seems to be split between those who live the old retirement paradigm and those who live and want the new retirement paradigm. In this blog I will compare the two and make the case for the new retirement. Many people retire today when they have their finances in order to live out their remaining years. Some of those people have not even considered what they will do in retirement. Retirement is much more than giving up your active working life. A person needs to be prepared mentally and emotionally. Retirement is one of life’s largest and most stressful transitions and it helps to prepare for this well in advance. That is why many people turn to the assistance of a retirement coach to assist them to live their best life. A retirement coach is a life coach who specifically helps people transition to their retirement years successfully.

We begin this story with an example of an early retiree who just wanted to get out of an unpleasant work situation. This person we will call her Susan, put away enough money and thought about where she wanted to retire. Susan had a secure pension and good health insurance coverage.  Unfortunately, Susan didn’t put any thought into what life would be like after retirement. She embraced the old retirement paradigm that retirement was a time of rest and relaxation, a life of leisure with little to no responsibilities. Retirement became a time of isolation, boredom and sameness. Hours of sitting and watching television repeats of her favorite shows. Nothing to get excited about and a sedentary lifestyle that contributes to many diseases. Many which may have been prevented.  In this example, Susan had a heart attack before the age of 60 and now suffers the restrictions of loss of health and vitality. Susan is a good example of someone who represents the old retirement paradigm. One of idleness and leisure. This life is perceived by some as heaven on earth in the beginning. No schedules, no supervisors, no annoying co-workers, no hassles. Many retirees do fine with this type of retirement and are perfectly content with this lifestyle. Many on the other hand are slowly disintegrating, degenerating and dying with this choice. There can be self- absorption, passive alienation and a monotony of sameness. Many retirees go through a process of self-forfeiture, denial of reality, an attitude of criticism and reliance on others. They are bored and their spirits deflate. This type of retirement plants the seeds of passivity and ill health. This lifestyle can lead to depression, addiction, alcoholism and early death.

On a more positive note, we can look at the example of James. He gave careful consideration to what his life would look like after retirement. He loved working and knew he would not be happy with the traditional retirement. He set himself up before leaving his full-time employer with a consulting business, which gives him a sense of purpose and fulfillment. It also provides him with social connections that working can provide. He sets his own schedule and works part-time. He still has time to pursue things he enjoys and always wanted to do, like travel the world. He can pursue one of his hobbies of writing and has a successful blog in addition to a few books he has published. Life is exciting and this is his new beginning. This is an example of the new retirement. Not everyone that embraces the new retirement work, but some do and others volunteer. This is a time of new discovery, excitement and regeneration. People who embark on this type of retirement have ownership of themselves and their lives. They live healthy and take of their bodies contributing to their physical and mental wellness. They have healthy self-esteem and are self-reliant. They live enriching lives and are involved with others.

They have an attitude of mentorship, as well as many strong relationships with others. They have adapted an attitude of exploration, seeking new and fresh experiences and skills. The new retirement way of thinking is about life meaning, personal fulfillment and life balance over a lopsided life of strictly leisure. The people who live this new retirement life have a deepened interest in life and a heightened sense of their authentic self. They develop a passion for discovery. They have discovered we all have a higher gift residing within us to share with the world. They are happy, fulfilled and live long and productive lives still contributing to society.

Charles Kettering said, “Our imagination is the only limit to what we can hope to have in the future.”  Discovering our passions and unique talents gives our lives meaning and remind us there is more to life than our daily to-do-list. This new retirement paradigm is the lifestyle I advocate and help others achieve. To begin this new adventure in life you can begin by writing down everything you want to do in your next chapter. Don’t be afraid to dream big. Keep in mind what is most important to you and what you value most. Remember these famous words by Napoleon Hill; “Whatever your mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” If you need help in fulfilling your retirement dreams reach out for assistance. That is what I do and am always happy to help.

Bored in Retirement