In 1959, at the age of 21, Mary Myers took a leap of faith and bought a way one ticket from her quiet suburban town in Michigan to the concrete jungle of New York City. With ambition brimming in her eyes , she aspired to become a top ranking journalist and work for a prestigious news publication. It was a long and arduous journey, but Mary tirelessly worked towards her goal every day of her life. Over the next 20 years, she transitioned from being a columnist for a relatively unknown gossip tabloid to becoming the first female editor of a popular lifestyle magazine. After a long and satisfying career path, Mary decided that she was finally ready for retirement at the age of 70. Initially, Mary enjoyed the autonomy and bliss that life after retirement had to offer her, but after a few months, she started feeling bored and insecure. She missed the predictability of her former work schedule and socializing with her colleagues. But more importantly, she missed the experience of working towards her passion and having something to live for everyday.
Mary’s story raises some important questions that have been circulating in the minds of those who are trying to navigate life after retirement. Who are you when you no longer do what you have been? How do you find meaning, identity and purpose in the remaining years of your life? For a long time, people have linked their self esteem and identification to their work and encounter problems as they try to seek a new role during retirement. To help you to smoothly adjust into your post-retirement role and help you to live life to your fullest, Age Brilliantly has outlined some tips that will help you to coast through your twilight years:
- Explore a new hobby – Learning is a lifelong process and helps you to enrich your Take note of things that stir you up and make you feel the most alive, creative, happy and connected to others.With the internet at your fingertips, you could always go on YouTube and find a tutorial that teaches you to learn and create whatever your heart desires. All this can be done from the comfort of your living room! You could also always take that class you have been meaning to take such as baking, writing and sewing. Who knows? You might even uncover some hidden talents. Just look at Phyllis Sue, a 95 year old life long learner who started a fashion label after 50 and took up tango,yoga and trapeze after the age of 80. According to Sue, “If you don’t train the body every day it withers. If you don’t train the mind every day, you lose it,”.
- Increase your friend circle – Don’t shy away from having a social life! Keep in touch with your former colleagues and attend clubs and workshops to meet people with similar interests. You will gain a sense of connectedness and contentment as you surround yourself with people who are engaging in the same passions as you!
- Volunteer at a Non-Profit – Ask if there is a need in your community and come up with ways to address it. You can make an incredible impact on people’s lives by doing something such mentoring a child and guiding them to a better future. You can also start with something small like baking a cake for a charity event and embark on other micro-volunteering opportunities. Alternatively, you could also volunteer at a retirement home and connect with others your own age.
- Stay in shape – It is important to stay in shape and reduce the likelihood of developing severe ailments in the future. Choose a sport that you truly enjoy and can stick to. There are several activities such as swimming, golf, walking and yoga that greatly improve your health , without putting too much pressure on your joints and muscles. You can also ask a friend to tag along so you stay dedicated and inspired towards cultivating a healthy lifestyle. For inspiration, take a look at Charles Eugster, a 97 year old athlete who took up sprinting at the age of 87 once he realised the effects of aging on his body.
- Stay Youthful and Vibrant – Age is not a number – it is an attitude. You do not have to give up on everything just because you have retired. It is important to constantly engage yourself in pursuits that involve your mind, body and spirit. Do not let age define who you are.
As you can see there several things you can do to find purpose and meaning in your life after retirement. This list is not inexhaustive and extends according your aspirations and imagination! Lastly, you may also want to consult a certified life coach and/or a financial planner to ensure that your post-retirement life is as comfortable as possible.