The Main Question
How can you retire and not have your whole world collapse? There are lots of reasons to be glum about retirement but it is really possible to look forward to the future with joy and hope and expectations if you put in the effort.
The main choice we all face when we retire is to believe either
1. We are too old to do much any more or
2. Our best days are NOT behind us.
Our society wants us to believe the first answer is true – that we are beyond it all. Unfortunately, for many men, that’s reinforced by the dramatic change that happens on retirement. By the feeling that life as we knew it, is no longer available – because of ill health or work place rules or just simply because we can’t do the physical things as well as we used to. They want you to believe you are past it, and you are on the scrap heap, and whatever you do now doesn’t matter that much. Our society thinks you should become invisible and even your opinion doesn’t matter anymore.
It’s Not True.
Well sorry, but it’s just not true that you don’t matter. You do matter and if you are still breathing, God still has plans for your life. There are people who can only find answers to their dilemma through you. There are people who only you can build up because of your relationship with them. There are people who need you to point out the way they should go in life.
And it’s not true that your opinion doesn’t matter. You are at a point in your life where you have collected enough wisdom and experience to help others avoid the same mistakes you made and to help them make better choices. So I think it is possible to believe your best days are yet to come. But like most things in life, they wont come without some effort on your part. You will have to do some work on making the best things happen. So where do you turn to begin to reestablish your new life?
The Most Important Thing.
One thing you must do is decide what’s important to you. As I said in this blog, many men miss the one thing that matters most in life. And the sooner you find it, the better your life will be. Sorry, but I’m not going to tell you what I wrote there – you’ll have to click on the link and read it yourself!
We also need to reestablish our social networks because our existing networks that were focussed on our work situation, are usually severed when we retire. The truth is, unless you are an extreme introvert, you need other people. We humans are designed to be socially connected and so you must put effort into finding and building a social network. As I have said before, sitting on a couch watching day time TV is not going to help you. So get out there and find a way to meet people and rebuild your social network. You can join a church or a club or other social group.
Even this gives you a great opportunity that you have probably never had before. You see, unless you were previously a boss, you never got to choose who you had in your social network when you were working. Now, you have an opportunity to choose the people you interact with. So choose those who will add value to your life and be careful with how many people you have in your network who simply drag you down. You probably need some of them because helping them can give you a sense of meaning and be good for you, but don’t have too many!
One thing every married retiree notices straight away, is that they spend a lot more time with their spouses. Like it or not, most couples will spend most of their waking hours in each others company. A retired managers I know who spent his life telling people what to do, followed his wife around the house giving her “suggestions!” That didn’t turns out well. So you must prepare for that time.
The first step is to discover more about each other. I think, that means you need to know your Myers Briggs personality type. You should do as much research on your personality type as you can. There are hidden gems there for you to discover. I am an ESTJ my wife is an INFP. My wife’s profile is exactly opposite of mine on all scales. So I have to adjust my expectations and withhold my judgements on how she lives her life in almost everything we do. If I can do that, the best outcome is we learn to love each and appreciate what she does more than ever before. The very worst outcome is a “grey divorce” – so do whatever you can to avoid that scenario.
What Makes You Curious?
Another thing you should do if follow up on what sparks your curiosity. I have done a few courses online. Now I have had an interest in computers for years. So I found a course from Stanford University on writing software for the iPhone. Unfortunately after lecture five, it got a bit too difficult for me since that language they were using was new to me. But still I really enjoyed the challenge it presented and I did write a calculator program that worked. Of course there are many calculators available in the App Store so its never been seriously used. The truth is, I have started many more than I finished – though I have finished a few as well!
There are so many online courses that are free. Have a look here to see whats available and what you are interested in. You can get a certificate of completion if you have any use for it but I now study just for curiosity sake.
So Make Your Plans Today.
So I believe, the best years are still ahead and not just for me but for you too. All it requires is a bit of thinking and some actions to find a new way of living and making your life the best it can be. I have so many plans and things to do in my future. My life is not finished yet, and I am working on becoming a better husband and person every day. Trouble is, sometimes I get so busy, I think I’ll have to hire someone to help me!