While working, many of us dream of retirement, vacations, playing golf, or spending more time with the grandchildren. But, in reality there are many individuals who find, after retirement, they actually miss working. A happy retirement isn’t about how much free time you have, it’s about how you manage your free time.
The story of aging is no longer one of steady decline and decay. Advances in medicine and efforts to prevent chronic diseases are actually, lengthening the healthy life span of seniors. I read, “older workers aren’t just part-time greeters or grocery store baggers”. About 60% of the work force age 65 and older have full time jobs after retirement.
So, why is our culture still filled with negative imagines of getting older? An older adult is viewed with deteriorating health, poor memory and a sense of uselessness. My daughter jokingly says, “I am a certifiably crazy old Grandma!” Current research shows, as individuals get older, they become happier, more content and have a positive outlook on the world.
Working after retirement can offer many benefits and can delay the onset of age-related dementia. A job will keep you physically and mentally active and feeling younger. Having some kind of schedule prevents you from getting bored, depressed or lonely.
Perhaps, you want to switch or train for a new career with fewer hours and more flexibility? Is there something you’ve always wanted to try? Many are able to look for jobs that will allow them to pursue their personal interests. When I had my Toy Shop in downtown Port Perry, it was perfect to hire a retiree who had ‘experience’ and ‘knowledge’. They could stay active and in touch with other people, plus it was low stress with few responsibilities. A former employee told me, this was her ‘dream job’, after she had officially retired from the rat race! Many people comment, after a lifetime of working and punch cards, their unstructured days are absolutely boring! I know several friends, who after retirement said they continued to work because it gave them a sense of purpose, a connection to the community and of course, a nice little pay cheque at the end of the day.
But what happens if you are faced with financial challenges after retirement or can’t work? I often wonder how much income we will need to support our lifestyle? We have already started to cut expenses and increase retirement savings as we continue working on home renovations, anticipating our future needs. I know after retirement I will cut out uniform expenses, decrease commuting costs and hopefully stop take-out and eating at restaurants so much!
Retirement is a blank piece of paper and is a chance to design your life into something new and different. If you continue working, consider stepping outside of your comfort zone and pursuing your passions.
At this stage in life there are no bad ideas. There are only new opportunities and new adventures: you can learn new things and reinvent yourself. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but continuously be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you may be able to determine what God’s will is, what is proper, pleasing and perfect.”