Is It Harder For Old People To Learn New Things Retirement – Not Working Might Be Harder Than You Expect

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Retirement – Not Working Might Be Harder Than You Expect

A few days ago, I saw in someone else’s eyes what haunted me every time I looked in the mirror – the quiet hell of being retired but wanting to work. The void that is created for people who need work for their well-being, but who have retired for whatever reason, can be difficult to explain and painful to endure.

Not having to go to work is soothing for so long. Then we need more to be happy when we wake up in the morning. If you admit that, especially to someone in career mode, they snort. Or suggest antidepressants.

Don’t be fooled. What you are feeling is not a problem with brain chemistry. It is a very reasonable reaction. Living a life without a purpose is very hard to do. But there remains the cultural expectation of how we are supposed to live out our retirement.

Those who were pushed into retirement or spontaneously jumped may feel this sooner. But even people who carefully planned retirement as free time for a decade or more often end up saying after a few years, “There’s got to be more to it.” On average, it comes about a year after you stop going to work.

Leisure should be a part of your life, but you’re not crazy if you can’t make it enough on your own. There is no easy path to that “more” – no set procedure for asking for it. We each make our way through this confusing hit-or-miss solo jungle. So let me at least share what I’ve learned.

First, some things you don’t want to do:

DON’T JUST JUMP INTO A REGULAR JOB JUST TO FILL THE GAP. Retirement offers the advantage of maximum flexibility. Make sure you really WANT to quit before you start highlighting full-time help wanted ads. There are many ways to work, and “all day five days a week” is just one of them.

DON’T ASSUME YOU HAVE TO GO BACK TO WHAT YOU WERE DOING. Even if you were an ace at the office, there might be something you’re even better at—and enjoy more—if you take the time to figure out what it is.

DO NOT CONTINUE TO DO ANYTHING. You already know it doesn’t work, no matter how many people tell you how lucky you are to be able to do it. People die for lack of enough to challenge them. Don’t just put up with it if it’s not working for you.

DON’T GET DOWN ON YOURSELF. You are not a failure because you “retired”. Many people do.

So what do you do? In short? Do the work to decide what you really want to do and then figure out how to do it in a way that keeps your life balanced. More specifically:

DISCOVER YOUR PASSION. What is worth doing at this stage of your life? What excites you? Listen to your heart. Is there something you want to improve in the world, in your community, or in your neighborhood? The only reliable foundation on which to build your retirement is what you truly value deeply. Eventually, almost everything else is likely to change.

SLIDE WHAT YOU ARE GOOD AT. By the time we retire, we have accumulated an incredible breadth and depth of skills and knowledge. Just writing it all down will make you feel good about yourself. But knowing all you can do is also key to igniting a fresh flame. Be sure to also incorporate the things you’ve learned in non-business activities, whether it’s running a Brownie troop or officiating high school lacrosse.

DEFINE YOUR PURPOSE. When you combine what you’re good at with what you believe in, amazing things happen. You don’t have to save the world. You don’t even have to save the day. You have to save yourself. Find out what jazz does to you and learn all you can about it.

SHAPE YOUR WORK CONSCIOUSLY. There are project jobs, piece jobs, seasonal jobs or contract jobs. Creative work (that you can never earn a dime). Voluntary work. You can work noon to 4:30 on alternate Tuesdays or only in February. Once you know when and how you want to work, you will be much more likely to find, create or negotiate it.

GIVE IT TIME. A strange thing happens when you retire. All your time is yours, yet you tell yourself you don’t have enough. You can’t learn that new thing or build a reputation in that new area of ​​expertise because, well… you might die. Think about it. This is true from the day you are born.

There are many people still going strong at 90 years old. Be one of them. When it is time to take your last breath, take it full of satisfaction with what you have been so engaged in. This is how we should all retire.

Copyright (c) 2009 Mary Lloyd

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