Take the word “retirement” out of your vocabulary. Merriam-Webster defines retirement as:
- Withdrawal from one’s position or occupation or from active working life;
- A place of seclusion or privacy
Really? Is that what you want? It sure wasn’t what I wanted when I retired from my first career, which lasted 38 years. I was only 55! It was time for me to “re-wire” myself for a different life purpose, one I could choose voluntarily and at will; one that didn’t depend on the need to generate income for my lifestyle, for family obligations.
The question became: what will I do with the next half of my life? Yes, half because longevity is totally redefining the life stages and no longer should we think about retirement. We should think about re-wiring. So, what will you do if you leave your profession or career in your 50s or 60s and you just might have another 40 or even 50 years of life left in you?
Ending one career simply marks the beginning of another and as many call it, “the next chapter.” It’s the beginning of the rest of your life which could be the best of your life.
There are limitless opportunities for those of us in the baby boomer generation to seek, to pursue and to give back. The best business ideas are yet to be incubated, the greatest non-profits filling societal needs are yet to be conceived, and the most innovative capabilities for the aging demographics are yet to be developed. Will you join the ranks of the boomers who are reinventing, or re-wiring, themselves and our nation in some of the most extraordinary and productive ways.
I asked Marc Middleton, Founder and President of Growing Bolder™, what he thought about the new paradigm of retirement. Growing Bolder™ is a broadcasting company whose mission is to rebrand aging by producing lifelong-learning stories that help spread the gospel of active lifestyle, social engagement, and mental stimulation. Here’s Marc’s response to my question:
“Don’t blame baby boomers for not wanting to retire at 65. Thank them. Retirement is an outdated concept. Turning 65 is now a launch pad to what’s next. Living with passion and purpose and finding a way to monetize that passion and purpose when necessary or desired is the new ‘retirement.’ Boomers are totally transforming this life stage and creating new options that will benefit future generations.”
I’m inviting you to think about an entirely new future for yourself and visualize yourself doing something that you may have only dreamed about.
Here are some strategies you may want to consider as you journey through the re-wiring life stage:
- Get clear on what you’re passionate about. Explore your interests. What energizes you? What gets you up each morning? What would you do whether you were paid for it or not? Is there something you had to put on hold in earlier life stages that can be re-birthed into a purposeful opportunity?
- Create a vision for your new interest. It could be a business idea, a foundation you might want to create or a service you want to provide to your community. Write it down, put it on a vision board, let it incubate; get with friends, colleagues, family members and get feedback
- Develop a plan with goals and expected outcomes for your vision. Ask yourself some basic questions: who, what, when, where, why and how? Write it down and imagine yourself pursuing the plan. Experience the emotions of achieving success.
- Execute the plan! No more dreaming; just get on with the plan and enjoy your new life purpose with conviction, vitality, and enthusiasm and be open to what it will lead you to.
Jeannette Bajalia, author of "Retirement Done Right" and "Wi$e Up, Women," is president and principal adviser of Petros Estate & Retirement Planning, where she has designed and implemented innovative estate-planning solutions for clients and their families. She also is founder and president of Woman’s Worth®, which specializes in the unique needs facing women as they plan for their retirement.
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