Many of us living in the Sonoma County area are thinking about retirement or we might already be in the midst of it. Our society has given us images of retirement that I believe are outdated for many of us. They are images of being out of the mainstream, tired, worn and only set on an early-bird dinner.
I contend we need a new phase of life that acknowledges that many of us in the 55+ category are ripe and ready for MORE. We are still VITAL, we still have energy, good health, ideas and intents. We can go beyond the bucket list of fun stuff to create later lives of purpose, meaning and fun! We can move to something I’ve named ReVitalment ™.
Some of us are lucky enough to:
- Take an “inside-out” perspective.Throughout our careers, we’ve focused on being responsible and hardworking. We concentrated on qualities shaping us from outside forces, spending much of our energy on how society tells us to live. But now we can shift our focus to those personal preferences that we’ve had to ignore or tamp down as professionals. Now we can operate from our essential selves. This means we can acknowledge, embrace and give expression to our inner gifts. Perhaps it’s deepening our spiritual or creative sides, or reconnecting with family and friends who may have slipped from our busy lives.
- Cultivate a new spirit of exploration and enrichment. Ask yourself: What are the hobbies or experiences you’ve always wanted to pursue, but never felt you had time for? Have you missed having moments for reflection? Now you can take up journaling, meditation or memoir writing. Are you a people person who thrives on social activities? Join a hiking club, a discussion group, or take part in Meet Up gatherings. This is your opportunity to embrace the new — for no other reason than pure enjoyment and enrichment.
- Explore ways to apply your skills and abilities.After decades of honing our skills and expertise, many of us are reluctant to walk away from applying them. Rather than abandoning those aspects of our careers that we truly enjoy, we can look for new ways to use them. Volunteering as a part-time mentor or trainer for entry-level or mid-management employees in our former or a similar organization shares our talents in fulfilling roles. Many in the health, education or other fields find exciting places to extend their vocations in less committed roles.
- Give time and attention to your physical wellbeing.We live in a youth-oriented culture where the messages to look younger are profound. But, removed from the professional world, the pressures to battle ageism can fall away. At the same time, our freedom from work life allows us time to give our bodies the attention they deserve. Getting into a daily exercise regimen helps give us energy, improves sleep and fends off numerous health issues. With more time to make healthful meals, we can improve our diets. We can also pay better attention to staying well hydrated — a key health component in our later years.
- Find ways to leave a legacy.Whether in our own communities or in far-flung regions of the world, endless issues need attention. What issues in our world beckon to you? Online resources abound for finding ways to help. Giving back may just be the secret to living a life that’s not only happier, but healthier, more productive and more meaningful. A study published in BMC Public Health concluded that taking time to volunteer could reduce early mortality rates by 22 percent. Volunteer work can also provide structure that some people crave after leaving the workforce.
I strongly suggest we reconsider what we can and should do when we are 55+. Whether we have the resources to fully retire or still work, or work part time, our time is precious and we need to make the most of it. We have plenty to do to enhance our lives, our families, our community and our world! Don’t sit by the sidelines and retire when you can create ReVitalment!
Onward to activating the best in you and bringing it to our world. We need your energies, your ideas, you skills and your passions!