Are you Happy in Retirement? by Bill Storie
How many times have you heard that question? Sometimes it has been asked of you, sometimes you’ve asked it, sometimes you hear it on television. It seems to be popping up more and more as more and more people join the ranks of Olderhood. About 12,000 turn 65 in the U.S. every day, every single day. Wow.
And slowly the notion that most of those folks will live for a long time is gaining momentum. In fact, many of them will live for about half the time they were working. That’s a long time.
So, the question of “what on earth am I going to do for all that time?” is being asked more and more. So, before we answer the happiness question, we need to get to grips with the activity question. If we can’t work out the second question then the first question becomes meaningless.
Watching television, playing golf, taking a cruise, relaxing, playing with the grandkids are all wonderful ideas yet they probably don’t have a long shelf life. Even those who love playing golf, probably once or twice at the weekend when they were working, can now find that being able to play seven days a week is overkill. Too much of a perceived good thing can get tiresome (apart from eating chocolate though I guess). How many cruises can you realistically take?
The entire retirement phase of life is undergoing the largest and most tumultuous changes in human history. No-one has been there before. We’re making history of mankind.
The plans your parents and grandparents had about retirement are so far behind us that we can’t recognize them at all. We can’t remember them now. We certainly don’t assimilate with them. This is new stuff.
In other words, even the meaning of the words retirement happiness has changed. Sitting on the porch in an old rocking chair is now only for the movies, not your life.
Yet the issue is not so much working out what the words mean but working out what you are going to do to achieve any worthwhile level of happiness. Sitting on the couch isn’t going to do it.
You need to get up, get going and getting on with your new life – your Third Journey as we in Olderhood call it.
The range of possibilities is endless.
- Start a new business.
- Get a new hobby.
- Move to another country
- Sell the old homestead and buy a cabin in the woods.
- Buy a boat and see the world
- Become an author
- Volunteer in your local community
- Go into politics (hmm, maybe not !)
We use a List of Facebook “Interests” for our Olderhood outreach – the List has over 280,000 entries. So, there’s no lack of ideas or opportunities.
One thing we do recognize is that one person’s happiness it not another person’s happiness.
If you want to live like your friends or neighbors or even family then go right ahead. But if you don’t enjoy what they do as much as they do then find something else, something unique to you. It’s YOUR life not theirs. If they think you’re nuts so be it. This is not a rehearsal, this is it. Get on with it.
Some days won’t be as satisfying as others, fair enough. But over the piece, aim to be happy and let negative thoughts and feelings slide off, if you can.
So, the message is clear – really think about what type of happiness you want in your retirement years. Don’t rush at it, take your time, but get started. You will change your thinking a ideas appear and you will tweak many of them, but be very active in working at it. Treat your retirement happiness the same way, and with the same effort and passion, you did years ago to get qualified for your job.
This retirement gig could be the longest job you’ll ever have. Enjoy it.
By Bill Storie