How do you plan on spending your retirement years? Do you see yourself sitting on a beach somewhere in Honolulu or the Bahamas sipping on coconuts with your spouse by your side? Or perhaps selling your home and moving to Florida to soak up the sunshine? Or maybe you just plan on taking it easy and spending more time with your kids and grandkids?
Of all the scenarios you imagine however, I don’t believe that any of them should involve just wiling your time away, waiting for something exciting to happen.
What about all those years of hard work? After putting your kids through college, saving in spite of student loans, car loans and mortgages, punching that time card every day, rain or shine. It would surely be a shame to just rest on your laurels wondering what more there is.
I know there are some people who retire way more comfortably than others do. However, I honestly don’t believe that you have to be filthy rich or rolling in dough to have a happy retirement.
Remember all those little things you used to say to family and friends while you were still working? “I can’t wait for the day when I don’t have to get up early and come to work.” or “It would be so nice to work only if I wanted to and not because I had to.” Remember those words? Remember that longing? But research has shown that the feeling of disillusionment is understandable and quite common for many newly retired people.
According to an article in Retire Happy“After the first few weeks or months, it is very common for retirees to become discontented and even depressed. This is usually because they feel that their life does not have a purpose any more. There is a sense of belonging that comes with having a job and if you were at your job for a long time, the chances are that you were in a position where a lot of people “needed” you on a daily basis.”
First of all, realize that if you do sometimes feel this way it’s not uncommon. The goal is not to stay there. You’ve waited too long and worked too hard to get to this next phase in your life, so push through those feelings. Try new things, meet new people, get out there.
As I did a little exploring, I realized there was an endless array of activities or experiences out there that people of retirement age were willing to try. Activities like growing your own food, kayaking, learning a new language, tap dancing, computer classes, or wine tasting. Retirement might allow you to get in touch with your creative side through writing, painting, blogging, or learning to play an instrument. All, on your own time schedule of course. You get to set the pace. You get to be in control of your daily life.
As one retiree said,”I don’t necessarily need excitement; I need newness.” And she’s right. What would be the point of doing the same things you did everyday while you were still working? So sit down and remember those things you said you were going to do when you retired; write them down. These were the things you were looking forward to, the things you said would make you happy once you had the free time, so start there and then move forward. The Golden Years are precious, don’t waste them.
The month of May, has been designated Older Americans Month and the DeKalb County Public Library has joined in the celebration by offering many interesting and fun activities at our various branches throughout the County such as: Line Dancing; Senior Self-Defense; Zumba Gold; Chair and Mat Yoga; Punch and Paint and many other fun events that you can find listed on our website. And don’t forget our annual senior shin-dig held at the Decatur Library. This year the theme is Viva La Vida @ DCPL, and all you need to participate is your library card.
Looking forward: an optimist’s guide to retirement– Ellen Freudenheim
Retire Inspired: it’s not an age, it’s a financial number– Chris Hogan with foreword by Dave Ramsey
What color is your parachute? for retirement:planning now for the life you want– Richard N Bolles/John Nelson
The Everything retirement planning book -Judith B Harrington and Stanley J Steinberg
-Joseph L Matthews