REDEFINING RETIREMENT WHEN WORK ENDS, BE INTERESTING BY LYNN OGRYZLO Where did the time go? It’s 2016 and you’re thinking about retiring. To those with plans it comes with great excitement, but to most, it comes with fear, doubt and an awful lot of anxiousness. It’s normal, after all, most of our identities are tied into our work and without anyone needing us, it leaves a gaping hole in our day-to-day activities. The biggest question is, what to do? In the immortal words of John F. Kennedy, “efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.” And yes, to many it takes courage to retire, but purpose and direction? Always! Today we’re living longer and we’re living younger. Studies have shown that due to our healthier lifestyles, we’re living 10 to 15 years younger than our chronological age. That means most of us will have plenty of energy, an active mind and much, much more to contribute in this lifetime. While it may seem strange to think of retirement when you’re still feeling young inside, it does present a world of possibilities. Before we talk about possibilities, let’s first start with a list of the things you will do when you retire: go ahead, make that list right now. If your list is full of meaningful activities, then you are more likely to have a purposeful and happy retirement. But very few lists are like this.
What you don’t want to include on your list are any onetime activities like sorting through the boxes of old photographs. Even though it may take weeks to do this, it’s not a meaningful activity in retirement. If you’re having difficulty with your list or are feeling a little anxious, I have a few ‘next step’ options for you to consider. First, think about starting an encore career. Many people’s careers were started decades earlier when they had financial and family responsibilities and no ability to switch careers if they were unhappy. Now that you’re retiring, you have a rare opportunity to work at what you’ve always wanted to work at, to start a totally new, unrelated career that many find liberating and exciting. You could start a new business. American statistics (Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity) shows that last year more Americans became entrepreneurs than at any time in the past 15 years. And it’s not just a young person’s game. Entrepreneurship activity was highest in the 35-44 and 55-64 age brackets. What small business you ask? Many people turn their skills into consulting businesses with the benefit of flexible schedules. You can turn a hobby into a moneymaking opportunity or perhaps you have an idea that will take advantage of the needs in your community. >> TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 25