Category: Retirement Success and Inspiration

Boomers: 3 Posts to Start 2018 Right

Boomers: 3 Posts to Start 2018 Right

Your health, happiness and retirement are likely on your mind if you are a baby-boomer. As we move into the third stage of our lives, our ‘next third’, we are facing considerable changes and likely some uncertainty.  How will my health hold out?  Am I ready to retire?  What will I do to be happy and fulfilled?  Here are three posts from the Next3rd blog that will help you set your intentions for 2018:

 


Over 50? How to Reboot your Bod

You may have been blessed with good health until now or perhaps those aches, pains and extra pounds are starting to hamper you. Either way, now is the time to pay more attention to your health.  Study after study, tell us that exercise and good nutrition help us age well.

This post highlights tips from the insightful and practical book series “Younger Next Year” by Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge, M.D. Chris is now in his 80’s, physically active and seems to be building a new business full of purpose.  Need more inspiration?  Read about Dave, a former engineer turned triathlete coach in his early retirement in this post! (Two posts for the price of one!)

 

Ready to Retire? 15 Success Factors

You may think your retirement will be a permanent vacation, but think twice.  Retirement brings some of the biggest changes in our lives.  As we age, we may become more resistant to change and thus live a life fraught with fear, resentment or even depression.  Loss of identity and purpose, neglected relationships, and rigid mindsets are some of the pitfalls that can seep into our retirement years.

This post highlights key factors that enable a successful, fulfilling retirement to help us live life’s third act with zest and vitality.  I have been dedicating individual posts to each retirement success factor over the past year.  Six more to explore!  Dreaming of your ideal retirement? Learn from Sue and Dean, who sold their home to sail away in their retirement in this post.  (Yep, another 2 for 1 deal.)

 

 

7 Habits to Create a Happy Retirement, a Happy Life

As we age, we return to our own individuality.  We care less about fitting the mould and towing the corporate line.  Recognizing that money can’t buy happiness, we begin to look beyond our careers for life satisfaction.  Perhaps its releasing your pent-up creativity, or pursuing new leisure activities, or just re-connecting with old friends.

This post explores the six arenas of life that contribute to life satisfaction identified through research on adult development.  It also offers seven habits that can truly create more happiness in your life based on recent research on happiness.  One habit for each day.  Look at that!  A new, easy daily practice for you.  Want to meet someone who made big changes for a happier life?  Read about Marlene in this post.  You’ll be inspired!  (2 for 1 again!)

 

Happy New Year!  I hope that this and other Next3rd blog posts inform and inspire you to live your best life in your next third.

Care to share?

Are Your Adult Kids Sabotaging Your Retirement?

Are Your Adult Kids Sabotaging Your Retirement?

62% of Canadian boomers feel their retirement is jeopardized because of the financial support they provide their adult children according to a recent TD Bank survey. Nearly half of adults in their 20’s live at home.  Supporting your adult children can hurt your retirement plans and your sanity.  Here are three tips to help you co-exist with your ‘boomerang’ kids while protecting your retirement nest egg.


25 is the New 19

It may not be arrested development, but an economic reality to share your home with your twenty-something children.  Secondary education and housing costs may be out of reach for your kids while starting salaries are low.  A crisis, such as divorce or job loss, may bring the kids back home, perhaps with their kids.  Or, your brilliant adult child has decided to pursue that Masters or PhD, partly on your ticket.

150% more adults aged 25-34 years live at home today than in the 70’s

 

 1.  Agree on House Rules

Whether they’ve never left, or they’ve come back home, clarifying expectations with your adult children at the onset will help you coexist more smoothly.

When boundaries are unclear, stress and conflict increase.

 

The key word is ‘agree’.  It’s like having roommates.  As my daughter used to say, “you’re not the boss of me.” Listen to each other.  Start with house rules built on respect for each other.  You each have the right to your own privacy.

Consider:

  • Comfort levels for:
    • Music & noise
    • Visitors
    • Neatness
    • Awake/sleep hours
    • Independence vs. family togetherness time
    • Separate living zones

 

  • Household contribution:
    • Chores
    • Cooking
    • Groceries
    • TV, internet, cell service use
    • Use of vehicles (or not)
    • Rent, utilities

 

 2.  Take Care of Yourself First

You love your children and want to protect them, help them and nurture them.  As we are told in the airplane, put your oxygen mask on first and then your child’s.  Your kids have a whole life ahead of them to grow their financial base.  You?  Less time.  Protect your nest egg.

It’s that boundary thing again.  Plus, you are modelling prudent financial management to your kids.  Win win!

 Know how much you can afford to help without hurting your retirement. 

 

Not sure?  Meet with your financial planner or wealth manager and run a scenario of future expected expenses and income.  Yes, it will be based on assumptions, but it will give you an idea of what you’ve got and what you need to live the retirement life you imagined.  Factor in the additional expenses of your dependents, and you’ll understand your boundaries.

 

3.  Agree on a Timeline for Departure

At some point, our kids need to launch.  Most of them want to, and look forward to being independent.  Agree on a workable time frame for departure. (There’s that ‘agree’ word again.) Your kids will know they need to manage their finances and affairs accordingly.  You will know how long your support is required and can plan your life and finances appropriately.

“Offer encouragement not advice” – Dr. Richard Johnson

 

As much as we love our kids and enjoy their company, we’ve got to let them spread their own wings. Have faith that you’ve taught them well and that they will land on their feet!

Care to share?

Retirement: How to Find Purpose After Career

Retirement: How to Find Purpose After Career

Our career gave us purpose, goals, growth and tasks on which to focus.  Yet, research has shown, we still need a sense of purpose after our careers to live a rich and satisfying life.  Retirement gives us a new opportunity to discover what truly sparks our vitality, but many career-hardened boomers struggle in this endeavour.  Here is a valuable approach to discover your new purpose.  Get ready for that “aha” moment!

 


Why Purpose?

I can see some of you rolling your eyes.  I’ve had a few skeptics in my strategic planning sessions who thought discovering the organization’s core purpose was a waste of time.  Au contraire.  Knowing your true mission saves you time.  It gives you direction, helps you in decision-making and gives focus on how to spend your efforts, energy, and resources.

Do you volunteer for this or that group?  Do you invest in this or that activity?  Do you spend time with these people or those?  How do you apply your skills and talents? How do you grow? How will you spend your time?

More importantly, research has shown that your overall wellness is linked to having purpose and meaning in life. A purposeless life can lead to depression and is often expressed as “frustration, anger, a feeling of worthlessness and internal angst” explains Dr. Peter Johnson, co-flounder of Retirement Options. Working toward something that is important to you, energizes you and fires your vitality.  It gives meaning to your life.  Isn’t that the ultimate goal in our 3rd act of life, our Next3rd?

 

“Ever more people today have the means to live, but no meaning to live for.” 

– Viktor E. Frankl

 

 

Yours to Discover

Your purpose is in there, inside you already.  It probably has been buried since childhood, covered with external demands and tasks asked of others over the years.  Now you can mine it. Let’s go digging.  It may be muddy at first, but over time and with focus, your purpose will become clearer.

 

 

The Venn Diagram Approach

Andy Stanley reminded us to reflect on ‘why we are here’ in the 2017 Leadercast “Powered by Purpose” conference. For those less into existential thinking, his simple Venn Diagram just might hit home.

 

 

“Instead of asking what am I most passionate about, ask what breaks my heart?’” 

– Andy Stanley

 

“What breaks your heart?” That’s hitting the bone. Your answer will give you insights into what you truly care about and what problems you may be inspired to help solve.  Your first seeds of your life’s purpose.

Take an inventory of your skills, talents and wisdom that you can offer.  Revisit those personality profiles you may have completed in the past for more insights. How can you apply your gifts to the problems or challenges you’ve noted above?  You may want to do something completely different than in your past career.  This is your opportunity to bring out the real authentic you.

Who were you thinking of when examining what breaks your heart? Troubled kids, the polar bears, your family?  Who can you help by applying your gifts?

 

Meaning in life often comes from serving others.

 

What is the overlap or the intersection between these spheres of what breaks your heart, your gifts and who needs your help?  What is at the centre of your Purpose Venn Diagram?  There’s your first iteration of your current life purpose!  Is that “aha” that I hear?

 

Just Do It

Congratulations.  You’ve planted a seed to your life’s purpose and meaning.  Now act on it.  It’s not the thought that counts so much as the action driven by that seed that gives you life meaning.  It’s an iterative process.  As you act to fulfill your life’s purpose, your mission and life meaning become clearer.  Enjoy the quest!

 

Purpose feeds action.  Action feeds meaning.

 

Care to share?

This Couple Shares Wisdom on Retirement Togetherness 24/7

This Couple Shares Wisdom on Retirement Togetherness 24/7

They had demanding, top-tier careers in the fast-paced world of high tech.  Busy, A-type, long days at the office with world travel thrown in, type of careers.  With little time for planning, they each retired early, at 50, and have been happily together, a lot, ever since.  What’s their secret for harmonious retirement togetherness?

 

Retirement Trailblazers

Full disclosure.  I have known Denise and Karl for 25 years.  Most of that time, has been during their retirement. Conversations with them are always interesting and thought-provoking, and usually involve good food and wine.  Denise was a trailblazer in her career, usually the only woman in the room, and Karl was leading change in a change-adverse organization. When the opportunity came, they each had to decide quickly about early retirement.  Karl retired first, and Denise followed about four years later.

 

“Society wasn’t ready for us”

 

Denise and Karl were leading the new wave and paradigm shift in retirement and society hadn’t caught on yet.  They were young, healthy, had good financial resources, and wanted to do things. (They haven’t changed.)  What was available to the new retirees was, in a word, depressing.  Retirement living, activities, travel or hobbies offered were geared to the less able elderly.  So, they paved their own way, together.

 

Pace Adjustment

How did these former executives adapt to retirement life?  It took both Karl and Denise about six months to adjust to their new life.  Initially, they missed the benefits of work such as the social interaction and teamwork.  Otherwise, their lives hadn’t changed that much.

 

“We never said, let’s wait until we retire. If we wanted to do it, we did it.”

 

They continued their leisure, hobbies and interests they enjoyed before retirement.  Travel, dining out, visiting friends, equestrian, wine and other interests continued.  Having a variety of interests was important.  “If you sew five days a week, it becomes a job.” The only change was their pace.   They have the freedom and flexibility to set their own pace.  But, her pace is a tad different than his!

 

That Togetherness Thing

Karl and Denise definitely have different personalities and neither of them are ‘pushovers’.  She’s got to be busy, doing things, learning things, going places.  He’s the calm, yoga-practicing, meditating, art-appreciating type.  They are together almost all the time.  In the time I have known them, I have never heard one complain about the other. Never.  Not one nit-pick.

 

“We really enjoy each other’s company.  We like each other.”

 

That’s the key.  They are best friends.  They want to do things together.  They want to experience retirement together. And they have made a conscious choice to do so.  Choices like having one car, a nice one, even though they live in the country.  Errands, activities or socializing – they do it together.

 

“Never say no.”

 

That’s Karl, the self-described introvert.  If one wants to do something or follow a new interest, they discuss it first and come to an agreement that works for both.  They find a way they can enjoy the new interest together.

Case in point, wine university in France.  Wine is Denise’s love.  She wanted to live in France for a year and study to become a Master Sommelier. Wine is a secondary interest for Karl, but he wanted to practice his French and work in the vineyards.  And that’s what they did.  Togetherness.

 

“Do things that you like.  Don’t be a clone of the other.”

 

If someone does what you want to do all the time, you will lose them.  In retirement, your mate is the most important person, you don’t want to lose their uniqueness, their individuality.  Remain who you are.   Which means, you must know yourself. “If it means going on a 5-day trip on your own, then do it.”

 

Words of Wisdom

Denise: “Do it earlier rather than later.  There’s so much to do, and it may be more difficult to do later.”

Karl: “Mutual appreciation of each other:  If you’ve got that, you’ve got it made.”

 

Both Denise and Karl continue to be fully engaged in life following their individual interests, together.  Best buds!

 

“It’s amazing what two people can do together, when they really appreciate each other.”

 

Care to share?

Successful Retirement: What’s Hope Got To Do With It?

Successful Retirement: What’s Hope Got To Do With It?

What are you expecting in your retirement?  Consider how you answer this.  Your response will give an indication of how satisfying your life will probably be.  There’s more. How happy are you now?  Your answer is also an indicator of your future happiness in retirement.

 

The Difference Your Outlook Makes

Do you see your retirement as a time of promise and new beginnings?  Or are you afraid of what the future will bring? Your expected satisfaction in life is one of 15 factors for retirement success that Dr. Johnson, a leading expert on gerontology and adult development has identified from his 30+ years of practice and research.

“The self-fulfilling prophecy principle is real – act accordingly.” —Dr. Richard Johnson

 

There is a correlation between what you expect and what you’ll experience in your future, between how happy you are now and how happy you will be in the future.  When we see a future life of contentment, “we gain a sense of personal relief today”.

However, when we are apprehensive and worry about the world around us and what will come, we succumb to a life hampered with anxiety and uneasiness.  We are continuously on the lookout for the next threat that will trouble us.  This outlook robs us of our happiness today and gradually builds an isolating wall of fear around us.

 

 What’s the Secret to a Positive Mental Attitude (PMA)?

Optimism and enthusiasm.  And what drives these endearing attitudes?  You guessed it.  Hope.

“Hope is the power which gives us confidence about tomorrow, an assurance that eventually things will be OK, a security that all is well.”

 

Hope is experienced in different ways and at different levels by different people.  For some, it is the belief that there is more good in the world than bad, and that the good will prevail.  Others experience hope at a spiritual level and have faith in the wisdom and guidance of a higher power.  “A positive mental attitude comes from hope in oneself and the human spirit.”

 “When we can rise to some level of hope in our own future, we can multiply our happiness today.”

 

Hone Hope’s Motivating Powers

I am usually an optimistic and enthusiastic person, yet sometimes I do feel the weight of the world.  When I focus on all the bad news to which we are constantly exposed, or look at the damage we continue to inflict on our planet, I can feel a level of hopelessness and resignation.  My outlook of our future becomes dim.   I want to retreat.

But, when I watch a Ted Talk led by a smart, engaged scientist explaining his or her solution to a world problem, I am relieved and reminded of the good in the world.  My hope is restored.  And with that hope, I am motivated to get out there and enjoy the world and the gifts of the day.

“What you focus on, grows.”

 

When you start to worry about the future, remind yourself of all the good around you.  Build your hope quotient and you will be happier today and in retirement.

Care to share?

7 Habits to Create a Happy Retirement, a Happy Life

7 Habits to Create a Happy Retirement, a Happy Life

What makes you happy now?  What will make you happy in retirement?  Are you waiting for something to happen first, or someone to do something, and then you’ll be content? Ancient wisdom and current science tell us that “happiness is an inside job”.  No need to wait to be happy, you can start now with these seven simple practices!

 

What is Happiness?

Dr. Richard Johnson, founder of Retirement Options and expert on adult development and gerontology describes the extent of our happiness as:

“The degree to which we experience a sense of delight, fulfillment, pleasure, contentment, and a sense of rightness in all arenas of life”

 

It’s in our genes, or not.  It’s in our attitudes and beliefs, or not.  According to Dr. Amit Sood, renowned expert on stress and resiliency, Mayo Clinic professor, and author of The Mayo Clinic Handbook for Happiness”, 50% of our happiness depends on our conscious choices.

“Happiness can become an enduring habit.” Dr. Sood

 

All Arenas of Life?

Really?  Yep, we’re talking life balance.   Research has identified six key facets of life that when attended to, lead you to fulfilling life satisfaction and a successful retirement.  We need all six in our life to varying degrees and when one or more is neglected, and another is all consuming, we are out of sync and our bodies are under stress.  Stress at the cellular level.  Excessive stress is not happiness.

We need a purpose; our meaningful work, be it paid or unpaid. Healthy family relations let us give and receive love. Social relations, from close friends to casual interactions with strangers, keep us engaged in the fabric of life.  Pursuing personal growth, health, and well-being opens our minds and possibilities.  Having a sense of connection to a higher power brings peace, awe and wonder. Leisure brings entertainment and rejuvenation, and yes is a need!

“Happiness is what happens to us, when we attend well to all the arenas of our life”. Dr. Johnson

 

Be like Yoda

When we pay attention to the six life arenas, we can become like Yoda. Centered. Grounded. We are more emotionally resilient, have better focus, are more fully present and healthful.  Content. Fulfilled.  How can we get there? That brings us back to “conscious choice”.

 

One Habit a Day

To help us become more mindful, calmer and content, Dr. Sood has identified seven practices that can lead to a happier life.  He suggests practicing one a day so they become enduring habits.  Take a few moments each morning, close your eyes and focus on the practice for the day.

Monday – Gratitude: Focus on the gifts in your life; re-frame the negatives to the positives.

Tuesday – Compassion: Recognize everyone has struggles; be kind, be helpful, not critical.

Wednesday – Acceptance:  We are all works in progress, imperfect. Let it go, be fair.

Thursday – Meaning: What is important about the gifts of today? Who can you be of service to, how?

Friday – Forgiveness:  Yourself and others. Focus on life’s higher meaning and not hurt.

Saturday – Celebration: Honour others and yourself. Bring out the joy.

Sunday – Reflection: Prayer, meditation, quiet connection to a higher power. Be calm.

 

Try it!  I did and do, and have noticed that I do feel more content and less anxious.   Happiness really is an inside job!

 

Care to share?

How This Retiree Adjusted to the “C” Diagnosis Smoothly

How This Retiree Adjusted to the “C” Diagnosis Smoothly

He was working his retirement plan, living the dream, engaged with life.  Big travel plans, hobbies to indulge, fulfilling community involvement, fun social circles.  Eight years into retirement, the cancer diagnosis was received, and he took it all in stride.  Here’s how…

 

Be Adaptable

Gary is a pragmatic, matter-of-fact, logical type of guy.  To hear him talk about his cancer diagnosis and treatment is like listening to someone talk about a mosquito bite.  An irritant, but life goes on.

Before retirement, Gary and his wife attended retirement life planning workshops provided by their employers. Beyond the financial plan, they truly had a whole retirement plan. It was, and is, a full plan.  Community involvement, gardening, golf, hiking, curling, volunteer jobs, travel, elder caregiving, learning, and of course travel – big trip type of travel.

“If you don’t know what you’ll do in retirement, you’ll be lost.”

 

Gary is busy.   Yet, he is relaxed about his retirement plans. He allows for wiggle room.   If an opportunity for a new adventure arises, he adapts.

And that’s just what Gary did, when he was given the “C” news. Adaptability is a retirement success factor and I would say Gary has this one figured out!

“We just adjusted our plans.”

 

Thankfully, Gary’s prognosis looked positive, and so they adjusted their activities, commitments and travel plans while he went through his treatments.  Road trips instead of flying. Coordinator versus executive volunteer positions.  And a little less golf and curling. No problem.

 

Get On With It

As I listen to Gary share his experience, I am struck by how little he dwells on his serious health scare. His reaction to the news?  Let’s find out what it is, deal with it, and get on with it. “I really didn’t think about it too much.”  It happened, there was a treatment strategy, and some lifestyle adjustments.  So what?  I am inspired by his calm attitude.  It is what it is, just get on with life!  Acceptance.

“Health concerns can start to creep in and that happens to everybody.”

 

Lessons Learned

“Get planning on the big things. If it involves travel, do it now.”

 

This is a recurring theme shared by the retirees I have interviewed, and I’m thinking we need to pay attention. Whether it’s a big hike, a long trip or a new sport, start now, while you can, so you have no regrets.  “You don’t know what health issue will hit you, so do the big stuff now.”

“Have a plan.”  A life plan, that is, for retirement.  Gary understood the big changes retirement would bring.  He and his wife, embarked upon their life plan a couple of years before retiring, enabling a smoother, easier transition. They developed new hobbies and the social circles that come with them.

“If you’ve planned it, and have a retirement income to match your plan, you are in good shape.”

 

In His Words

“Do it early. Don’t wait!”

 

Care to share?

How Not to Be Archie Bunker in Retirement

How Not to Be Archie Bunker in Retirement

Remember Archie of the TV sit-com “All in a Family”?  That narrow-minded, opinionated, grey-haired guy in the armchair barking orders to his wife, Edith?  As we age and move into retirement, we run the risk of becoming that ‘grumpy old person’.  Unless, we develop a certain trait.


Lessons from Darwin

Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution taught us that we must adapt to survive.  Dr. Johnson, a leading expert on adult development and gerontology agrees.  He has identified adaptability, the personal flexibility you can exercise at any given time in any given situation, as a key factor for retirement success.  We must adapt not only to survive, but to thrive in retirement.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” —Charles Darwin

 

Ch Ch Ch Changes…

Won’t stop in retirement.

Contrary to common perceptions, we will likely experience more change in retirement than any other time in our life.

Our body changes and will keep changing. Our lifestyle changes significantly as we end the formal work chapter. We will face changes in our family, from the loss of parents or perhaps a spouse, to the addition of sons or daughters-in-law and perhaps grandchildren.  We may move out of the family home, or to a new community; our social circles will change.  New interests, hobbies and leisure activities may emerge and perhaps your purpose in life will evolve.

Add to these, changes in technology, social norms, politics, demographics, the economy, the environment and other macro influences, and you get the picture.  Change is everywhere, all the time. When we fear or resist change, we seek sameness, search for that elusive certainty and security, and revert to rigid schedules.  We fall into a rut.  We get stale.  We become Archie!

 Adapting to change, not resisting or hiding from it, is the ticket to a smooth retirement ride.

 

How to Be More Adaptable

My yoga teacher uses the word, ‘release’ versus ‘stretch’ and that is how I would sum up adaptability.  You’ve got to let it go, not force the stretch.  To be more adaptable, we may need to change our attitude, decisions and actions.  It will likely mean letting go of the need for control and certainty and having faith that you, and the world, will be OK.

To be more adaptable means to be more:

  • Accepting than critical
  • Agreeable than argumentative
  • Forgiving than judging
  • Pleasant than harsh
  • Calming than upsetting

Doesn’t that sound like the perfect, wise elder?  The anti-Archie!

 

Start Removing that Crust

I admit it. I can be a tad crusty as I age.  A bit fixed in my opinions and view of the world. Maybe it’s the “I’ve seen/done that before” cynicism that’s creeping in.  Before we know it, we are encased in a thick crust of inflexibility.  Just like Archie.  It’s takes a conscious effort to remain flexible, malleable and adaptable, but we can do it.  When, we do, our life is richer, interesting and happier.

Care to share?

Want to Sail Away in Retirement? Read This First

Want to Sail Away in Retirement? Read This First

Dreaming of sailing on turquoise waters when you retire?  This adventurous couple set their retirement plan in motion and fulfilled this lifelong dream.  How did they fare? Here are the lessons they learned…

 

You Know What They Say About Plans…

Dean and Sue Pope are an articulate, open and thoughtful couple.  Avid boaters, they had a plan for their retirement.  Sell their home, buy the right boat, and sail the Caribbean for five years.  They did their research and calculated the financial impact of this dream.  Dean would work 3-4 more years before acting on their exciting retirement plan.

Then, changes at Dean’s work brought an opportunity for early retirement. Their retirement dream was accelerated significantly.  Boat shopping began a few years earlier than expected.  Their first assumption, the timing of their plan, … adjusted.

 

“Every assumption we made, turned out to be wrong.”

 

Other assumptions?  Exchange rates, price of gas, costs of goods and boat maintenance to name a few.  Their budget and expectations were regularly adjusted.  I am reminded how adaptability is a key factor to retirement success!

 

Life Happens

The Popes also assumed it would be five years before they became grandparents, hence the five-year boating plan.  That family blessing came in three years!  Sadly, a week after signing the boat deal, Sue’s father passed away unexpectedly.  A very rough start to the retirement dream.  Although difficult, Sue and Dean persevered and continued with their plan.

 

“The thing about dreams like ours is that they have a realistic undertone you don’t see when you are dreaming.”

 

The couple enjoyed the care-free boating life and met many friendly boaters on their travels. Yet, the reality of their new lifestyle meant they were far away from good friends and family.  “You can’t just pick up and go home for a birthday.”  Having the right communications technology helped.  They also invited close friends for winter visits to share the beauty of their boating experience.

 

So Much Learning and Refined Priorities

Sue and Dean prepared as much as they could for their retirement adventure.  Yet as Sue says, “you just have to do it” and learn along the way.  New challenges and new experiences brought them much nautical and boating wisdom. The nitty gritty of living in a foreign country expanded their perspective too. They also learned about themselves.

Being away from family and close friends for an extended period helped Sue and particularly Dean reset their priorities.

 

We don’t take much for granted now. We learned nothing is for ever, enjoy it while you can.”

 

The arrival of their grandson was the deciding factor in shortening their adventure by two years to come home. Their boating experience inspired them to be more engaged grandparents.  They chose to live in a new community that is closer to their children and their good friends, and are fully enjoying their loved ones. “We are content.”

 

Retirement is a Process, not a Thing

The Popes refer to their boating dream as their first phase of retirement. Now they are working on Retirement 2.0.  While family and friends are a priority in this phase, they are exploring more.

 

“We have to re-invent ourselves again and need our own life in addition to family.”

 

Sue and Dean are getting involved in their new community and charting what they will do next to keep ‘adventuring’.  I can hear the enthusiasm in their voices.  They are enjoying life.

 

Words of Wisdom

Sue: “You need to have a plan when you retire, something to work on and keep you busy. Otherwise, you can be lost in the beginning.”

Dean: “Every assumption is going to end up being different.  You need to be nimble and roll with the punches.  You will need financial capability.”

Both Sue and Dean are happy they pursued their boating dream in retirement. I’m happy they shared their story with us!  As Sue says…

 

 “Seeing it from the water is a lovely way to see the world.”

 

Care to share?

Retirement: Why a Life of Leisure Isn’t.

Retirement: Why a Life of Leisure Isn’t.

Ask soon-to-be retirees about their plans, and they will most likely answer with vacation itineraries.  Can retirement truly be a permanent vacation, a life of leisure?  Leisure is a fundamental human need, but a life of only rest and relaxation may not be good for us.

 

What is Leisure?

Dr. Richard Johnson, founder of Retirement Options and expert on adult development and gerontology, describes leisure as:

 

“Personally satisfying endeavours outside work which rejuvenate your body, stimulate your mind or enrich your spirit”

 

It’s a break, breather, vacation or diversion from our everyday lives that gives us pleasure and new energy. In other words, it’s not passive TV or movie watching! (That’s called compensatory leisure – compensating for lack of energy.) Leisure can give us respite in many different forms, and is essential to help us refocus and refresh. In fact, it is one of the 15 retirement success factors identified by Dr. Johnson. But there’s a catch.

 

The Paradox of Leisure

After decades of working hard, you may be looking forward to a life of leisure in retirement. Think twice about that!

 

Leisure isn’t leisure if it’s the only thing we do.

 

Herein lies the irony of leisure. It must be a diversion from our everyday to give our brains and bodies the true benefits of our reprieve. If it is the only thing we do, our leisure activities become our work. Leisure must remain secondary to give us its true benefits.

 

The Golf Course is not Your Office

When leisure becomes your ‘work’, it no longer gives you that respite that you need. We can see this on the golf course. When your focus turns to results, scores, competitiveness and perhaps pursuing perfection, you’ve lost the pleasure and reprieve that a game of golf can provide. Golf is no longer a diversion, but your ‘work’. Your mind and body will need a ‘vacation’ from golf!

 

One Person’s Leisure is Another Person’s Work

This bit of wisdom is particularly important to couples. Have you had the retirement ‘leisure’ conversation with your partner yet? Be prepared, you may have different leisure activities you each want to pursue. My hubby likes puttering and fixing things. It’s a diversion for him, but for me? Yuk. It’s chores and work. I prefer hitting the trails for the day. That’s too much ‘work’ for him.
Understanding your own, and each other’s, leisure preferences will help you navigate your retirement choices and decisions. Typically, you will prefer one or two of the following types of leisure:

6 Types of Leisure Preferences

  1. Socializing
  2. Spectator entertainment
  3. Artistic expression
  4. Intellectual stimulation
  5. Physical exercise
  6. Solitary relaxation

 

Not sure, where you sit on the leisure spectrum? The LifeOptions Profile TM, is an excellent assessment tool provided in the “The Choices We Make” coaching program that helps you understand your leisure and other retirement lifestyle preferences.

 

Live a Leisurely Life, Not a Life of Leisure

What’s the difference? A life of leisure is a life of scheduled activities that become tasks without much purpose or meaning. It evolves into a life with emptiness, and ironically, stress. It leads to the gradual wearing away of life’s luster, vitality and healthfulness.

A leisurely life is balanced with purpose and leisure, with meaning and pleasure. You are neither under-utilized, nor over. Satisfying your personal leisure preferences helps you live in the present, feel joy and be yourself. Leisure plays a secondary role in your life energizing you to fulfill your primary role – your life’s mission!

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