How To Live Retirement With Passion And Purpose In Five Simple Steps

by | May 9, 2022

Many of us spend our working lives dreaming of retirement.  We see ourselves living a life of luxury and freedom, doing what we want, when we want.  No ties, few responsibilities.  Sounds idyllic, doesn’t it?

positive ageing helps a happy retirement

Unfortunately, the reality of retirement today is very different.  As life expectancy increases, so does the drain on our savings. If we live longer, we’re likely to face more illness and degeneration.  And with an average of thirty years to fill, many of us will experience boredom, loneliness, and despair.

Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be this way, as I can testify.  I was forced to retire almost overnight when I was given just six months to live. Fortunately, the diagnosis was wrong, but so too was the “hellish life” I was propelled into. Once back to full health, I ‘unretired’ and ‘refired’.

Here are my five simple steps to help you do the same.

1 Face reality

The retirement equation today is fundamentally broken and it’s a fact that most of us will outlive our savings. Life expectancy has risen to eighty-three years in the US and UK, and it is expected to reach one hundred in the not-too-distant future.

Very few of us have the funds to sustain ourselves for that amount of time, meaning, that unless we choose a different path, we’ll face poverty at the worst possible time in our lives. To avoid this fate, the first thing we must do is acknowledge the situation and accept it.

2 Dare to be different

Once we’ve come to terms with the fact that life expectancy has shattered the retirement dream and the picture-perfect image we’ve been sold of life after work is just a mirage, we can move on. It is still possible to live with passion, purpose, and prosperity until our final day, but to do that we must shift our mindset, ignore what society tells us, and dare to be different.

Two senior women parachuting

3 Discover a different path

Choosing a different way of life isn’t easy and many people just don’t know where to start. The first course of action is to NOT retire. That doesn’t mean you have to keep on doing the same job, at the same level until your dying day.  Anything but. It means you don’t withdraw from work – which is essentially what retirement is.

Senior man working

Instead, you refire yourself by doing something you love, something that brings you joy, gives you a sense of purpose and makes you want to get out of bed in the morning. For some, this is looking after grandchildren or volunteering. Others consult; sharing their years of experience with future generations, and there are those who build a business doing something they love – baking, woodwork, gardening, writing, beekeeping – earning a small, supplementary income doing the thing they most enjoy. This is positive ageing – growing older with a purpose!

4 Find your tribe

Lots of people make the mistake of thinking their purpose lies at the gym, the golf or book club, or around the dinner table with friends. It doesn’t. Keeping active, socialising, and learning new skills in later life is important.  These things fill time, energise, and help you grow, but these things alone are not enough.

Four senior people enjoying time together

The problem is that, like sheep, retirees follow their tribe. They do what their friends are doing. They stick to the same groups, the same mindsets, and the same conversations and by doing this, they fail to explore and embrace new opportunities. Find people who are, like you, daring to be different. And who realise that they still have an awful lot to give.

5 Don’t look back

Once you’ve found your purpose and the people who will help you achieve it, don’t look back. Don’t listen to the people who tell you, “You’re too old for that” or “It’s time to slow down.”  Really? Ignore that inner ageist voice we all have inside – it’s time to think positive ageing instead!

And when self-doubt creeps in, as it inevitably will, remember this from George Bernard Shaw, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”

George Jerjian
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