Shaping Your Life After Retirement

How to be prepared for the enormous change.

Photo: Aaron Burden

How to be prepared for the enormous change.

Often times transition to life after retirement is unplanned. When your job, title, benefits and social environment are taken away from you, are you prepared for this? Do you want to live fit, healthy and a happy life? Start investing time, practice and energy to retirement ahead. I believe you need to work for this, some wonderful retirement won’t just come unless you are committed to create it. Ask yourself who do you want to be for the rest of your life? Your years ahead may be the best time of your life. Finding a sense of purpose or passion is going to help you to reach your dreams. You may have a calling to travel, do gardening, charity work, mentor, write, paint, learn a new language, learn new skills or raise current ones to new heights. You may have amazing skills already within you that are waiting to be discovered. What is helpful is to recognize all skills and experience you have collected to yourself.

I had a fabulous encounter with 63-year old Ursula. She wanted to share her own experience hoping it would be helpful for other people to be prepared to cherish every day after retirement. She had worked for 38 years in a huge international company. Her days were busy filled with travel, people and new projects. Speaking five languages she got many interesting projects and was well connected. She loved her work, and ignored signs her body had been sending for years to slow down. Finally, as her son pointed them out to her asking if she was really ready to lose her health for work ? She was in lucky situation to be able to choose retirement, and she was unprepared how her life would unfold after.

I asked her tips to finding purpose and joy after retirement. How did it work out for her?

“First year went as I studied my inner landscape. I felt suddenly alone. My hectic life came to a stand still and my calendar was empty. I read a lot of books which was helpful for me. I felt it was good to learn to enjoy my different new life, to look within and learn to be still. But then I realized it was time to move on also. I wanted to make a plan.

I asked myself what activities give me a sense of purpose? I yearned to learn something new so I took up intensive course in Italian language. In long run, I figured it keeps my brain active. Next, as I was used to meeting new people at work and running training courses I decided to get a dog for agility training. What a combination we are, which one of us learns more? My dog Ava gets me out of the house many times a day and trust me, I have met amazing people. I feel part of new community in our agility training. We are involved in man trailing as well now!”

Ursula, how did you build your social environment?

“I would say that by attending classes and courses I met other people and experienced sense of belonging. Generally being ready to meet variety of people it gives you fulfillment and joy. Human interaction is so valuable. You need to be interested and open to others as well as sharing and listening.

I asked myself what activities bring me energy and pursue them. As I was in this wonderful situation re-creating my life, I realized I wanted to be the best of me and that way creating happiness around me.”

I ask Ursula did she have a calling to do some work after retirement and she says yes.

“My friend has a fashion store and as she asked if I could step in to stand for her, I was thrilled. Now I continue to do it every now and then, it provides me with little extra income but also many joyful human contacts in beautiful surroundings.”

She smiles looking content “Now five years have gone since my retirement and I am grateful for being healthy and happy in who I am.”

There are some key elements that are helpful for your retirement. Explore what brings you feelings of contentment and fulfillment. Many retirees say that by giving their time, sharing their skills or giving money to people in need brings them stronger sense of happiness and purpose. Living your life with attitude of curiosity will help you. Finding deeper connection in your life can be most difficult task, and also most fulfilling one. Have fun in your journey!

Originally published at medium.com

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