My mom retired today after 40 years of service and it got me thinking about the different ages people retire at these days. Many people continue to work for financial reasons because in our recent economy, they can’t afford not to. Others do it because they enjoy their work and can’t imagine life without that purpose. Some are forced to retire before they would’ve chosen to because of downsizing or their own health concerns.
I think one needs to have a plan for after they retire and I don’t just mean financial planning. I think people need to think about what hobbies or interests they have not had the time to pursue during the 9-5 grind. I’ve heard many people say they want to travel when they retire. Though that sounds like fun, that may not happen to often because of the costliness. Also, no one really knows what health issues may creep up as you get older that may prohibit you from fully realizing that goal. That’s why I think that people need to make simpler, more day-to-day goals for how to spend this newly found time. I’ve seen some retirees who join gyms and regularly attend the free classes offered by their town libraries or senior centers. This kind of thing might peak your interest in some subject that you want to get more involved in. I think that even after retiring, people should have a reason to get ready and get out of the house and meet people. I don’t mean having lunch with a friend every day, even if that would be nice. I just mean seeing familiar faces who may say hello and smile at you and make you feel connected to the world.
If people don’t stay active, social and involved, it is very easy to age yourself prematurely or get depressed. This work-life balance is such a complex art. Many people work too hard and have no time for any other interests and find themselves unhappy and in poor health. While others retire and have a lot of time on their hands that they may not have planned for and find themselves unhappy and suddenly feeling their age. I guess it is important to try to live a good balanced life each day and find time for the things we enjoy and the people we love. If we push it all off until we retire, we may not be healthy enough to do it then and may wish we had not waited. So, seize the day but plan your activities for retirement as you approach that age!