“I’m not ready to retire, or I can’t afford to retire, so I’ll work part-time.”
How many times have I heard this said? Too many.
For some reason, millions of people around the age of 65 believe semi-retirement is the answer to all their dilemmas. They feel now is the time to slow down and take things at their pace. But to have one foot in retirement and the other in work, is living in the worst of both worlds.
Take it from someone who knows. At 52, I was given just six months to live. Semi-retirement was forced on me and it was not pretty. I had money, friends, family, a social life, good health, but it was not enough. Why? Because I had no purpose. I felt empty, lonely, and unseen. My life energy draining out of me.
A Slower Pace
Now I’m not saying that you have to continue working at a crazy pace until the day you die. Of course not. That would just be foolish.
But doing a bit of work here and there – or taking on a lesser role – isn’t the answer either. Do that and you’ll end up feeling unfulfilled, unmotivated, and stuck. Now is not the time to stop stretching yourself, to stop growing. You should never, ever stop. To do that is deadly.
I hate to break this to you, but very few people experience a ‘dream retirement’. Years filled with endless holidays, long lunches, rounds of golf, and trips to the spa. Retirement isn’t a luxury-filled oasis of calm and freedom. It’s anything but.
This is the retirement most of us face…
- We will outlive our savings by at least 10 years, if not more.
- After the age of 65, we’ll become more prone to illness and disease – and our health will become our biggest concern.
- And worst of all, we’ll lose our identity and self-esteem which will lead to shame, depression, loneliness, and despair.
There is another way
Now I’m a glass-half-full kind of guy. I see the good in everything and everyone. But not in retirement. There is no good there. That’s why I’ve dedicated my life to helping boomers take a different path in later life – one paved with joy, fulfillment, good health, and money.
Refire and rewire
The first thing I tell people reaching retirement age is “you’re not done yet. You are a work in progress.” But, for this to work, they must believe it. And believing it isn’t always easy. For many people, it can mean a huge mindset shift, moving from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset, learning to say, “I can”, instead of “I can’t.”
People need to realize that at 65 they may have another 30 years left to live – how can they use this time to expand, explore and grow? It’s about refiring and rewiring a fresh neural circuitry in our minds. It’s about creating a new story about ourselves and our new journey.
Of course, saying this is one thing, but change only happens when we are doing something about it. Action is paramount.
Finding your purpose and your passion
To be happy and fulfilled we need purpose in our lives. Something that makes us want to jump out of bed in the morning.
For some people, this will be looking after their grandkids, volunteering at the local library, serving soup in a homeless shelter. Others will find purpose in setting up a new business, mentoring start-ups, or doing something they never dreamed possible, like learning to fly.
The nature of your purpose doesn’t matter. It can be big or small. But it must be all-encompassing, something you lose all sense of time doing. It must be your passion.
When you find your purpose, you also find a new perspective. A different pathway. One where money is less of an issue because you continue to earn in some way and health is less of a concern because you’re less prone to illness and have less time to worry about it.
And better than all of that, having purpose means you preserve your identity, your self-esteem, and self-worth.
Having purpose means you get to live your best life.
Let me leave you with this. These days almost everything in our home needs a software update. And so do we. We can’t live the next 20 or 30 years of our life operating in the way we always have.
Running the same program, being fixed on the same outcome. We may not be machines, but we too need a software update, a new mindset, to continually expand, explore, and grow until we draw our last breath.
That is the new dream retirement.
George Jerjian, author of DARE to Discover Your Purpose: Retire, Refire, Rewire, is following his dream for life after 65 as a mindset mentor helping retiring baby boomers live with purpose and passion. Prior to reinventing himself, he was a chartered marketer in the U.K., a partner in a US commercial real estate firm, and a financial advisor. An Emmy-award-winning producer, a Distinguished Toastmaster, and author of 10 books, he earned a business degree from Bradford University in England and a master’s degree in Journalism from New York University. His online program—Dare to Discover Your Purpose—is a pioneering program and the first of its kind serving the retiring baby boomer market. He lives in London.