Life in retirement is an individual thing. It has no roadmap and no list of instructions. I read somewhere that there are many books relating to a happy retirement but that the only book you should believe is the one you have written yourself! What that means is that people have their own ways of being happy in their retirement. What makes them happy might not make you happy.
Maybe the writer has no grandchildren, while for you happiness is spending a lot of time with them: playing with them and giving them the knowledge that experience provided you with. Maybe you have no children, and your happiness lies in helping others. Forget the books. Forget what others say you must do. Open your eyes, look around you and do what makes you happy. Not what made somebody else happy!
Here are some ideas that might help you to be content with your retirement. Everybody is different. Everybody is unique. What makes you happy might not make me happy. Happiness is a personal thing. While money certainly helps, why are so many very rich people dissatisfied with life? So it’s not just the money!
Here are some aspects of life that might help you achieve your conception of happiness. It is not a roadmap to a happy retirement life. There are no specific instructions, such as ‘do this or do that…’.
These tips refer to your attitude to a life in retirement – a ‘state of mind’ if you like. Being positive and realistic! So let’s stop talking about the tips and read about them.
Be Positive and Think About the Future
Once you retire, don’t look back and say to yourself: “What if. . .”
‘What ifs’ don’t work. You can’t look back on your life and regret some of the things you did or decisions you made. Well, you could, but not if you want a happy retirement! What will you gain? Nothing but regret! If you must reminisce do so about the good things in your life, not the bad.
Be positive! Look to the future and perhaps think how you can use a part of your life in retirement to help others. There may be others who genuinely need your help. You will find that enough to make you happy within yourself.
Look upon retirement as another phase in your life – not the beginning of the end, but the start of something different! Make plans for yourself – which brings us to tip #2.
Do Not Be Surprised!
Don’t be surprised when retirement comes upon you. Do not leave yourself in a position where you have no idea what to do next. Retirement is not a life-long vacation – far from it! Don’t let retirement creep up on you unannounced. You know it is coming – so plan for it.
You may have a financial plan in place, so you won’t be short of money in your retirement. Maybe you don’t. However, as explained above, life in retirement is more than just money. Have a vision of what you want from retirement. How will you spend each day and get the most out of it? Even in retirement you can have short term and long term goals, so think of yours.
Your Life in Retirement Should be Useful – Maintain Your Self-Respect
Don’t miss your work. Many people do, and feel as though their worth has somehow diminished when they retire. Life in retirement need not mean interminable days of doing nothing worthwhile. Maintain your self-respect by keeping busy.
Many people make a bucket list of things to do in their retirement and spend their time working through it. Others do voluntary work. There is great deal of satisfaction to be gained by helping others. I just now Googled the term “voluntary work in xxxx” (with the area I live in as xxxx.) I got 280 results, each asking for volunteers – and most paying traveling expenses.
This type of work is not only fulfilling but also helps you to meet people and make new friends. Many people who have worked for over 40 years and more find retirement leaves a big hole in their lives. This can be depressing for some, but voluntary work can fill that hole and enable you to maintain your self-respect.
Aging is Normal
Aging is normal but it’s important to stay healthy. Try to stay active – tip #3 above will help in that. The same is true of your mental health. This is where your attitude to retirement is very important. Having goals (such as bucket lists) and maintaining an interest in the joys that life can bring will help you to enjoy a happy retirement life.
Do something every day to keep fit and healthy, physically and mentally. Most of all, stay positive. I have never liked the term ‘Twilight years’ when referring to retirement. Some people enjoy a long retirement just as they enjoyed life before retirement. The main qualities they all show are optimism, a positive attitude and a joy of living. They look forward to every day.
Be Active Socially
The term ‘social network’ is a modern one but it makes sense. Think of all the people you know, within and outside your family, and keep in contact. You can join clubs and meet new people. What is you favorite pastime or hobby? Get online and find a group in your neighborhood. Who knows where that can take you – new friends, new activities and it could network out to you meeting their friends and social groups.
Some people even get involved in local politics after retirement. If you have a particular skill or are qualified in the work you did prior to retirement, there may be people seeking your skills – become the treasurer or secretary of your local home association or any other local social group.
Finally – Family!
Family usually comes first, not last. Your family is essential in allowing you to talk about experiences, problems and even just to connect with people who love you. Connecting with those close to you is a basic human need. Staying close to people who can share experiences and life’s issues with you is an essential need for most people – not just retirees.
If you have close personal relationships with others, it has been found that you are liable to remain healthier and live longer than if you did not. Keep close to your family, particularly the youngsters. They can make you happy and keep you that way in your retirement.
These are six ways to help you have a happy retirement life. There is no need for life in retirement to be slow and boring. You can still be a useful member of your society and keep your life fulfilled after you have retired. The above 6 tips for a happy retirement life are guides – use them in the way that is most relevant to you and enjoy your retirement.