Tag: retirement

3 Retirement Lessons from the Inca Trail

3 Retirement Lessons from the Inca Trail

Built in the 1400’s and hidden from the Spanish, this 45km, 4-day trail through the stunning Peruvian mountains to the unforgettable Machu Picchu Inca ruins is a trip of a lifetime. It’s not easy, and it may not be for those expecting 5-star accommodations, but it does cause you to see things with a new lens. Especially when we face one of life’s biggest changes, retirement.

 

 

  1. You Can Do More Than You Think You Can

I wasn’t sure I was up to it.  Hiking in high altitude, from dawn to dusk, for 4 days, sleeping in tents and no showers! Three mountain passes, the highest, aptly named Dead Woman’s Pass, is 4,215m high. I’ve never been that high, and my body is, you know… ageing.  Old sports injuries are ever present along with other aches and pains, and you just didn’t know how you’d react to the very high altitude.  Could I keep up?

But, I had a list.  60 Things to Do Before I Turn 60.  Hike the Inca Trail was the BIG stretch goal.  Time to put my dream to action.  Enter Jocelyn, my energetic, tough, but encouraging physical trainer.  She helped me overcome injuries, strengthen the bod, and build up my cardio capacity.  More importantly, she helped my mindset.

“You’re not old. You can do this!  Age is just a number.”

 

She would remind me, when I would doubt injury recovery, and question my ability to do this trek.  She was right!  Going to the gym, raised my confidence level, but the big test was on the mountain.  I was the oldest of our group and I could keep up!   I did it!  Completing this trek, helped me realize I can do more!

I will never forget that exhilarating feeling of reaching the top of Dead Woman’s Pass and ‘whooping’ as loud as I could over the Andes mountains! 

 

 

  1. The Right Tribe is Uplifting

“We are a family”, Rudy, our outstanding trek guide told our group of nine people, aged 22 to almost 60, and of various backgrounds and nationalities.   “We stick together and remember, PMA – positive mental attitude.”  That was our mantra for the four days of personal challenge for all of us. It worked. No need for competition, no race to the top. No one left behind.

We started out as strangers with different reasons for doing the trek, and we ended as a ‘family’ with a special bond after sharing a remarkable experience together.  We supported and encouraged each other through altitude sickness, travellers’ bellies, sore knees, the cold nights and a cold.  Snacks, meds and other remedies were shared (thankfully one trekker was a nurse) along with the local wisdom of our guide.   We enjoyed coca tea happy hour and Peruvian meals together in the dining tent, along with laughs, stories and a collective awe of where we were!

We made it to the beautiful wonder of the world, Machu Picchu, together, each of us uplifted and happy for each other!

 

 

  1. Travel is Sooooo Good For You

Especially in our next 3rd stage of life.  It causes us to be adaptable, open and curious. It puts our minds to work, researching sites, planning itineraries, or understanding different languages and protocols.  It can also test our stress resilience!

We learned so much on our trek through the Andes, while our comfort levels were tested. I was amazed at the marvels of Inca architecture and engineering on steep mountain slopes. We were introduced to the local culture, history and customs thanks to our valuable Andean guide and the local village people. Praying to the Sun and Mother Earth for good karma on our trek, eating alpaca and guinea pig, and of course sipping Pisco Sour, the tasty national cocktail.

Yet, we had to forgo our first world comfort and even sanitation expectations. (Always carry your own TP and hand sanitizer!)  Things we take for granted, like a seated toilet, were luxuries, but the magnificent mountain views, the Inca ruins, the starry night skies and the friendly people were definitely worth it!

The beauty of the place and the Inca civilization reminded me of how truly amazing this planet is.  I’m inspired to see more!

 

Remember this When Pondering Retirement

Check your attitudes to ageing, retirement and your ability.  You CAN do it!

Nurture tribes that uplift you.  Choose PMA people!

Travel – not just in a comfy way, but out of your comfort zone.  Let the world amaze you!

Care to share?

6 Essentials to a Healthy Relationship, for a Happy Retirement

6 Essentials to a Healthy Relationship, for a Happy Retirement

Feeling connected to others is vital to a happy retirement, and some studies suggest, to longer life. But, retirement brings changes and some of the biggest are in the dynamics of our relationships. Perhaps its time for a refresher on what makes a relationship healthy!

 

“A healthy relationship makes for a healthy retirement; an OK relationship makes for an OK retirement; while a chronically sick relationship, makes for a disaster.”  Dr. Richard P. Johnson

 

 

What is Connectedness?

It’s our ability to share ourselves at a deeper level with our spouse, special friend or confidante.  It is a key factor for retirement success.  When we share our time, talents, possessions, our emotions, joy, fear, hopes, dreams, desires, and mistakes, we share our spirit.  Think about those times when someone really listened to you, understood you.  How did you feel?  Connected?

 

A good relationship sparks our spirit; a poor relationship douses it.

 

 

Remove the Armour

Unfortunately, aloneness can creep into our retirement years. Loss of loved ones, and the changing lifestyles of friends and family may weaken close ties. We may try to protect ourselves from loneliness and don our armour. In the end, we isolate ourselves further and in so doing, quash our own spirit.  We just might become that grumpy old person people want to avoid!

 

“Reclusiveness is the opposite of connectedness. It constricts our souls, strangles our life energy and cuts us away from the vitality of living.” Dr. Johnson

 

 

The Six Conditions

Of a healthy relationship according to Dr. Johnson, expert on adult development, ageing and retirement, are:

 

  1. Mutuality

Each partner feels their needs are valued equally and they share a common purpose.  Inter-dependence rather than independence or dependence is key. They have a balanced union, not one of dominance or resignation. They can count on each other and they honour their relationship.

“The opposite of mutuality is self-centeredness.”

 

  1. Respect

Each partner recognizes, honours and cherishes the special uniqueness of the other… even after time has worn off some of the new excitement.  It’s not about tolerating the differences but recognizing them as part of the unique gifts of your partner.

“The opposite of respect is resentment.”

 

  1. Communication

Communicating in a caring compassionate way can help partners navigate the inevitable differences that emerge over time. Active listening, attending to feelings, speaking for yourself, not others, and encouraging each other to speak freely are some elements of meaningful interaction.

“The opposite of communication is criticism.”

 

  1. Intimacy

A strong and positive emotional bond brings intimacy.  A bond that yields affection, attachment and devotion. That’s intimacy.  When your partner can understand your feelings and vice versa. “Relationships that deal in the currency of feelings are relationships of richness and happiness.”

“The opposite of intimacy is emotional estrangement.”

 

  1. Trust

You can rely upon each other without question and genuinely accept the other.  Each partner encourages, supports and accepts the other’s journey of personal development.  It is not about submissiveness or resignation, but of clarity of what really is. Trust involves acceptance of others and of what is.

“The opposite of trust is doubt.”

 

  1. Commitment

Each partner practices perseverance, persistence and steadfastness so that fidelity and staying power builds over a lifetime. Partners have the courage to unwaveringly grow and strengthen their relationship when others may have lost hope.

“The opposite of commitment is indifference.”

 

Whew!  As I write this, I realize how easy it is to get lazy in a relationship. Now I’m inspired to rekindle the connection and I hope you are too!  For more inspiration, check out this post about Karl and Denise, a couple that embodies these six essentials.  In Dr. Johnson’s words…

 

“If you have a confidante, take very good care of that person; they are your mental wellness.”

 

Care to share?

Retire at 52? How This Retiree Did It Successfully

Retire at 52? How This Retiree Did It Successfully

Retire early or keep working?  How do you make the decision?  This happy retiree weighed both options early, and at key milestones during his 35-year career before making the plunge.  Here’s how he did it.

 

A Man with a Plan

I was struck by Bernard’s positive energy while working on a project with a volunteer board he leads.  He seemed to really enjoy retirement life, full of zest.  I was curious.  What was his story?

Bernard knew what he wanted to do with his life at age 17.  Join the military and make a full career of it.  Even at that young age, Bernard had a plan with retirement in it already.  How many 17-year-olds do that? He planned on a 35-year military career from day one. Knowing he would be young when retirement came along, he needed a careful approach to his finances. He didn’t want to rely solely on his military pension, and so started his RSP soon after he donned his air force uniform.

 “I started to plan financially for retirement early and knew I had to prepare carefully.”

 

Milestone Check and Retirement Journal

Fast forward 20 years.  Bernard asked himself, “what do I really want to do when I retire?”   He saw two paths.   “Retire fully or prepare myself to continue working.” He would jot ideas down as they came to him and regularly check his list over time. He was looking 15 years ahead, and he was looking at retiring to something, not from something.  That’s foresight!

“I knew I didn’t want to spend the day watching TV.  I wanted to be able to do things.” 

 

Contingency Plan

Bernard’s first choice was to fully retire after what became a rewarding and interesting career as an aerospace engineering officer.  But, he wasn’t sure this was wholly possible.  He went back to college and studied human resources management, to expand his civilian career options just in case.  “I diversified myself.”  He felt better prepared for both retire or work eventualities.

“My back-up plan had 3 purposes; one, build a financial buffer, two, have something to do if I was bored and three, give me options if I really liked the work.”

 

The True Retirement Picture Came Later

Bernard’s ideal retirement life started to crystallize four years before retirement.  The ideas in his retirement journal changed and evolved as he matured, and as his family dynamics changed.  “We have to accept that our plans might change.  Be open to change and new ideas.”

“At my 20-year milestone, I wanted to golf in retirement.  Now, golf is not even on my radar.”

 

His retirement canvas? “Really enjoy life. Take life to the fullest.”  That meant, retire fully, volunteer, travel, sports, and enjoy the great outdoors.

“I knew I wouldn’t be traveling or skiing everyday and wanted to do something in between.” 

 

Life of the Youngish Retiree

“Life is great now!” It took Bernard about 6 months to realize he was really retired.  It felt like a vacation at first. He still had some doubts but, in the end, his decision to retire youngish felt very rewarding.

“I was still nervous.  I wore a uniform for 35 years.  And one day I wouldn’t.  That’s a bit scary.  The military is like a huge family, your crutch.”

 

Having a plan helped ease Bernard’s doubts knowing he had already thought about things. Four years after retirement, he wouldn’t change anything.  The only surprise was how busy one can be in retirement. “You have to pace yourself.” He also realized the simple things in life bring happiness.  “Helping neighbours and just being friendly each day.”

“You need a lot less than you think. Life can be much simpler – take the time to enjoy it.”

 

He lives in a village outside Ottawa where he can walk into town.  He and his wife, who retires soon, share one car. (He has a sweet motorcycle for fair weather fun.)  He curls, treks in the alps with his military buddies, hikes with his wife and really is enjoying life. Volunteering for a museum and for a stewardship association gives him a sense of contribution to his community, new social circles and added meaning to his life. “Life is much better actually.”

 

Words of Wisdom

Bernard offers 3 tips:

  1. Early planning is truly important. Write it down, regularly review, and change as needed.   Don’t be afraid to admit to yourself that your retirement dreams are changing.

 

  1. Don’t underestimate your skills and experience – especially military colleagues. You might be surprised how well your skills are transferable.

 

  1. Have the support of your spouse. This is most critical. Retiring early is a team decision and affects your spouse and family.

 

Thanks Bernard!

Care to share?

How This Career-Focused Woman Found Purpose in Retirement

How This Career-Focused Woman Found Purpose in Retirement

She is a trailblazer figuratively and literally.  Fully engaged in her career and one of few women at the senior level of her industry, she made a choice that unknowingly changed her way of life.  How did she manage to switch from an intense, but fulfilling career to a relaxed and rewarding retirement?

 

Janet 3.0

Janet is an engineering classmate of mine.  Intelligent, driven, and, as with many women engineers of our vintage, a trailblazer in her career.  She loved her work, and as she rose through the ranks to the executive level, her career became all-consuming.  She didn’t mind.  When she declined an offer to move, her first career, Janet 1.0, ended at age 50.

Version 2 of Janet emerged six months later. She took the time to reflect, sought out the help of a career councilor, and despite several opportunities for more full-time work, decided she wanted to do something different and on her own terms.   Consulting, a dog and the beginnings of her volunteer contribution ensued.

“Don’t leap in too quickly.  Take the time to reflect about your interests and goals.”

 

Her new-found freedom and flexibility gave her opportunities to build new tribes.  She sought out volunteer organizations that aligned with her interests and offered to help.  All she knew is that she wanted to do something for the environment.  One opportunity, led to another and soon, Janet had a whole new network of interesting, engaged people.  “I went from a tribe of geeky male engineers to a tribe of geeky citizen naturalists” she says with a chuckle.

“You can’t sit at home and wait for an opportunity to come to you.  You have to make yourself available to the possible.”

 

Enter Janet 3.0.  Over time she was invited, nominated, and/or recommended to fill various volunteer roles, usually in a leadership capacity. “I have created almost full-time work for myself, just not paid.”  As she gained experience in the volunteer world, her purpose crystallized.  Janet’s mission is to protect and improve the green-space around Ottawa. She applies her skills, sometimes her own finances, engages her network and remains open to new opportunities to fulfill her purpose … with success!  “It’s very rewarding.”

“I hate the word retirement.  I see it as version 3 –  another life phase of action.”

 

Navigating the Volunteer World

Janet offers good advice when it comes to getting involved as a volunteer.  “The best place to start is with a group in an area that you are interested in”.  Offer to help. It could be as simple as manning a desk or clearing a trail. Even better, if you have skills the organization needs.  Janet could offer project management and leadership experience.  Try out the organization and give it some time. If its not quite right, try another one.  Diversify. “Have 2 or 3 irons in the fire.”

“First you are an outsider, and then you are gradually accepted into a new network of people. The more people you meet, the more useful, knowledgeable, and effective you become.”

 

Volunteer organizations are different than work, Janet reminds us. There is no hierarchy, no boss.  People are there by choice and interest and have different skills and opinions.  It requires a different way to draw upon people’s skills and passions than in the workplace. Volunteer leadership is more like people coordination. “I ended up in leadership positions in almost everything. That’s just me.”

 

Get to Know Your Councillor

If you’d like to get involved with your community, it will likely have a community association and that is a key link to your municipal Councillor. A volunteer project is likely to have better success with the support of your Councillor. A Councillor can open doors to more tribes too.

“Having your Councillor know who you are and know that you are a contributor to the community is helpful.  They can recommend you or nominate you for various organizations.”

 

Be Open

Janet’s retirement (even though she hates that term) is more than she imagined.  Her involvement with various stewardship and community organizations brought new opportunities, expanded her social circles and helped forge a new purpose. She didn’t plan to be chair of this organization or citizen rep of that, but she was open to the opportunities. She’s making a difference.

“You have to put yourself out there, be open and flexible and seize opportunities as they present themselves.”

 

Words of Wisdom

Have kind of an idea of where you want to go or be, in the sense of being.  What is your goal?  Then, open yourself up to a whole bunch of possibilities by putting yourself out there.  Everybody chooses a different way.”

Care to share?

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?

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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Is Your Attitude Toward Retirement Outdated?

Is Your Attitude Toward Retirement Outdated?

There’s a shift happening in the world of retirement.  This shift is challenging prevailing attitudes and stereotypes of the retiree and retirement life.  Are you riding the new wave or is your attitude holding you back?

 

Who’s Your Model?

Our attitude toward retirement is likely formed by how others close to us experienced retirement.  Perhaps they were your parents, or co-workers, or an adventurous aunt.  What behaviour did they model?  Were they active, involved, and engaged with life?  Or, perhaps their experience was unappealing to you?

My dad took his retirement in stride.  He got involved in community affairs, launched a part-time consulting gig, took on new hobbies, planned interesting RV trips every year – some with his grandchildren, stayed physically active, and joined social circles like the ‘Lunch Bunch” of like-minded retirees. His example shapes my attitude.  (At 85, he’s still active, healthy and involved.)

Find an inspiring retirement mentor

 

Even if the retirees you knew had a so-so experience, it doesn’t mean you will.  Seek out a mentor that embraces retirement with purpose, vitality and zest and see how your attitude adjusts!  Need some examples? Check out Marlene’s story of big changes,  Dave’s story of athletic passion, this couple’s sail-away retirement, how this couple manages lots of together time and how P-Y builds relevancy in his retirement.

 

Maturation vs. Ageism

Research ‘retirement’ on Google and you will be faced with a list of sites offering either retirement residences, financial planning, or senior healthcare. Not very exciting.  What’s the subliminal message and underlying stereotype?  Do you buy into this perception of retirement?

The new retirement isn’t about getting old, its about an enriching maturation.

 

Retirees on the new wave don’t see retirement as a time of decline, but as a time for personal development and growth.  They are seeking deeper meaning in their lives and connecting with their real selves.  Retirement, in their view, isn’t about withdrawal, it’s about involvement. This new attitude is bucking the feeble elderly image and marketers and society haven’t kept up.  Have you?

 

Change Your Attitude, Change Your Life

Having a positive, insightful attitude about retirement is one of the 15 retirement success factors, identified by Dr. Richard Johnson of Retirement Options. In fact, attitudes and perceptions are key elements in many of his retirement readiness competencies. Your attitudes and beliefs shape your perceptions, thinking, feelings, decisions and ultimately actions. I am hoping that my blog will help change perceptions and attitudes towards retirement.  Follow along if you like!

“Attitude is the mother of all behaviours” Dr. Richard Johnson

 

Think retirement will be boring?  Keep believing that and you will be right.  Want a great retirement?  Do an attitude check.  What images of retirement dance in your head?  Who do you think of, when you think of retirement life?  Not liking what you see? Change the channel, change your attitude.  Seek out a positive retirement role model, and erase outdated stereotypes.  Yes, the glass is half full!

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