Throughout our careers, we work hard to be successful. Most of us don’t have to really think about what that means; we just know. This is because when it comes to a job, success is often reasonably easy to measure. Did you perform your responsibilities with integrity and excellence? Did you serve your clients and colleagues well? Did you achieve your goals and help those you worked with achieve theirs? You may have different frameworks for what success in your job looks like (or looked like), but the point is, you have them—you know. But can you as easily answer the question of what success in retirement looks like? Do you know this answer equally well?
Despite popular perception, I do not see retirement as the finish line—nor even as a finish line. Rather, I see it as a transition, a step from one stage of our journey to another. The efforts of living life continue. There is still success to be pursued and found. So, this week, to tackle the question of how to make retirement a success, I sought the help of my wife Joyce of 50 years. Here’s what we came up with:
- Never forget that wealth is not just about money. Joy will emerge as you use your resources generously to help others, take care of your health, nurture relationships, and live significantly.
- Find something enjoyable or fun to do every day. Your routine should nourish you.
- Reach out to friends and family daily. Make your legacy more about experiences with others.
- Be intentional about how you spend your time. Create a satisfactory blend of leisure and projects.
- Let go of work and busy-ness as a basis for identity and approval.
- Take the time to explore the deeper aspects of your nature. Cultivate what is transcendental, spiritual, and yet practical for the enrichment of everyday life.
- Find and join a cause. Become part of something bigger than yourself. Sow the seeds of significance and purpose.
- Prepare and allow for the shifting of life’s seasons. Remember that the future will bring both joys and sorrows, gains and losses. Free yourself from the tyranny of pursuing perpetual comforts, youth, and increase—or be disappointed.
- Go with the flow not alone, but with the nurture and support of friends and loved ones. Be purposeful and deliberate and creative about connecting more deeply.
These ideas are merely a beginning, but I hope they at least give you some things to consider. How do you plan to make retirement a success? Or, if you are already retired, how are you making it successful even now? I hope you’ll share your thoughts.
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