Who’s Afraid of Retirement? You don’t have to be.

I recently attended a morning event for a local nonprofit, and many in attendance were people without a job (mid-morning is usually a critical time for businesses). No, this wasn’t an event to focus on job skills or workforce development. Rather, it was a celebration event and the people attending were largely retired from their careers.

I struck up conversations with many attendees about their lives these days, and they all said they were engaged in volunteering (many with this organization), grandkids, and physical recreation (I didn’t know pickle ball was so popular with seniors). These activities, and the impact of them, seemed to be so important to nearly all of them. But as they told their stories, a number relayed how so many of their friends and professional service providers were still working with no intention of stopping. They explained that these friends shared that they weren’t going to stop because they wouldn’t know what to do with themselves if they did.

This group of active seniors were so taken aback by this concept of “work until you drop” that seemed to be all around them. They were so happy with their lives, their own way of retiring. They indicated that they were quite busy, but also not a “slave” to someone else’s schedule or requirements of them. They were doing exactly what they wanted to, and they believe they would continue to have purpose in helping others (through volunteering and grandchildren mentoring, etc.). They were amazed that many others at a similar point in life are afraid of giving up their careers for fear of boredom and who knows what else.

I was happy to hear that most of these folks had thought through their future and were intentionally defining their way of retirement. So often retirees suffer a loss of identity and, more importantly, purpose when they leave the business world. Those stuck in this way of life often do become bored, unhappy, their health deteriorates, and the die sooner than they need to. This is not an appealing picture of one’s “golden years”, and makes clear why so many are afraid of retiring.

But, as my new acquaintances made clear, retirement does not need to be this way. There are countless opportunities for involvement, for achieving a sense of purpose that gets us up in the morning. A key to this more fulfilling future is helping others: grandkids, neighbors, or those in need and served by various nonprofits. Serving in this way often creates a sense of purpose that is most rewarding, that keeps us growing, evolving, and even thriving. What a better way of life for one’s “golden years.”

So, do you fear retirement? Are you worried what your “golden years” will bring? No need to despair, there are countless ways to live an active retirement, filled with purpose. If you want to start on the road to a more rewarding future and retirement, I’m here to help.

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