This week I had the happy pleasure of taking part in a Job Search Boot Camp, sponsored by Alberta Human Services, where I reconnected with local career expert Nell Smith. Poised to start work on a new retirement book for Boomers, she shared the following article she wrote and had been presenting in her workshops. Along with the points below, Nell recommends the books 10 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About and You Could Live a Long Time: Are You Ready? for those of you thinking beyond traditional retirement, both available at Calgary Public Library.
There’s more to retirement than golf and travel, the two most common interests of past retirees. Today, boomers and pre-boomers are re-inventing a retirement in which anything is possible. Here, whittled down from over seven decades of life experience, research, and the experiences of family, friends and all those wonderful people who have participated in my career and retirement planning workshops, are my ten best tips for retiring to a life you design, one that is fulfilling and unique to you.
- Phase your retirement. Instead of going abruptly from full-time work to full-time leisure, continue to work part-time, do contract, temporary, or casual work. Start a new career, start your own business, or take on a project that interests you.
- Know yourself, what is important and what you love. Stay true to who you are. Retire from the inside, out.
- Join a group-which is the easiest way to stay socially connected. Fear of social isolation is a common concern for retirees. Could a service or book club be in your future?
- Nurture the family relationships and friendships you want to keep; rekindle friendships that have lapsed; let go of friendships that are not in your best interest.
- Continue to learn something – a new skill or new knowledge. Learning keeps you mentally alert, interested in the present and future, and interesting to others. Have you always wanted to play the guitar? If not now, then when? Give it a try.
- Keep physically active. Go for a daily walk even without a dog. Cycle, swim, run, ski, try line dancing, or walk to your neighbourhood coffee shop.
- Volunteer for a cause you believe in, formally or informally, locally or globally. Contribute your skills and wisdom for the greater good of your family, community, or society. Broaden your thinking from “me” to “we” and you will create new meaning and purpose in your life.
- Adopt an attitude of gratefulness and compassion towards others. Seek opportunities to express these daily to those whose paths you cross.
- Be creative. Yes you can. We are all creative in our own way. Explore in what new ways you want to express your creativity: could it be art, music, inventing, quilting, scrap-booking, gardening, photography, writing, designing, crafting, woodworking, decorating. The possibilities are endless. Explore - give it a try. There’s nothing to lose and who knows what you’ll gain?
- Feed your soul: meditate, pray, journal, read spiritual books, be in nature, do yoga, tai chi, listen to music…all great ways to de-stress and just BE. Follow the advice on a bench in Fish Creek Provincial Park that says:
Take the time to sit and ponder; let your mind and spirit wander. Enjoy the view; embrace the day; remember to take the time to play.
Nell Smith is a professional retirement planner, career consultant, adult educator, and author who created the Retire to the Life You Design© program that currently operates in four Canadian provinces. Nell is writing a book for boomers on how to re-engage, re-energize, and re-invent their retirement from the inside out.