Photo: J. Belmont, Merriam, KS
“What the hell do I do now in retirement? My power base, income, identity, colleagues and expense account all gone. I’m washed up and bored
But what about an alternative view? Change the perspective. To get some inspiration revisit the dreams of your youth. You didn’t arrive in this world as a life insurance salesman or programmer. There was a succession of dreams, goals, and careers that were fascinating back then. Go back to the time before marriage, the kids and before you learned dreams don’t pay the rent. Think about spelling retirement as
R E N A I S S A N C E.
It’s a rebirth where you take the best of what once was. Yes, you’re off the career ladder, but there are opportunities that were once impossible.
Have a second look at those roads not taken. Were there no nibbling in your mind as to what might have been different? Doors that you’d have walked in had there been time?
How about a time when music filled your soul? You never levitated into a new reality as the Beach Boys sang “..getting aloft in your rock and roll”?
Hire a coach, take up an instrument or make a study of that genre you once loved. It could restore your soul once again. Works for me at seniors’ music camp every August as well as the days between.
What about your long suffering body? This is payback time. Get in shape, not to live longer but better. Golf, the gym, senior swimming competition, tai chi, senior softball league? Activities once enriched your weekends, now you could sweat seven days a week.
Still like money? What about monetizing all that junk in the basement and attic on eBay? Debris and clutter shouldn’t be added to your estate taxed burden. Turn it into some green in your pocket.
If you’re getting your body and your attic in shape, why stop there? NY Times columnist Dave Brooks offers tips to tidy up your soul:
“People on their deathbeds tell us that happiness is found amid thick and loving relationships. It is found by defeating self-sufficiency for a state of unusual dependence. It is found in the giving and receiving of care.”
“In reality, the people who live best don’t seek freedom but tie themselves down. They don’t ask: What cool thing can I do next? They ask: What is my responsibility here? They respond to some problem or get called out of themselves by a deep love.”
Dali Lama made a recommendation recently that caught my eye. “We don’t need many more successful people. We need more people who can care for others, who can cure injuries and pain. We need more story tellers.”
Tell your own story in a book. With Amazon’s Word Press they will carry you through editing, proofing, designing and publishing. If nobody reads it, so what? It’s a renaissance thing to be verbalizing and reliving your past. You get to live your life a second time and delete the ugly chapters.
Finally, you owe something to future generations. Don’t let them find you drooling on the carpet. Demonstrate by example that life is good. Become an inspiration during your final chapter. Show the kids senior life can be fun, amazing and a thing to look forward to. After a lifetime of planting, harvest time is here.