Don’t Retire! Retread! Here’s How to Make it Happen

bigstock-Happy-senior-couple-jogging-in-36493645Some of the happiest and most miserable people I know are people who have retired. The happy ones didn’t really retire, they changed the way they live. The miserable ones are the ones who stopped living, the ones who decided to play golf the rest of there lives or the ones who felt like their purpose for living ended when their job ended. Here is a much better idea.

Why not “retread” and get another 150,000 fun miles out of your life?

Here are some steps that may help make your “retread years” the best years of your life:

Plan for it.

Financially, If you are still in the workforce start saving and investing to relieve some of the financial pressure. The best time to start doing this is when you’re young. If you are not young, the best time is NOW! Having a secure retirement income doesn’t guarantee a happy retirement but it can sure open up possibilities and take some of the pressure off.

If your resources will be diminished after retirement, plan your lifestyle accordingly. Just as a secure retirement fund doesn’t guarantee a happy retirement, downsizing your lifestyle during retirement doesn’t have to diminish your enjoyment of life and personal fulfillment. One of the things I enjoy about this stage of life is the realization that the things that bring me the most joy don’t cost very much.

Don’t let retread day sneak up on you. Be prepare for the changes in schedule and lifestyle. Be ready to embark on a new adventure. This isn’t the end of you life it’s the beginning of a new one.

Plan to make it count.

The retread period of life can be one of the best opportunities you have to significantly impact the lives of others. You may have time to volunteer or be involved in groups that are making a difference in the world.

You may be able to study subjects you have always wanted to study or pursue talents and skills you didn’t have time for before. You may even find that some of those skills still can provide some extra income.

Some of the happiest retirees I know are people who spend the bulk of their time helping others. Their’s is a life-giving kind of energy that comes from this kind of service.  It is really what we were created to do. As I grow older and travel less, I find great joy in helping men and women become all that they were created to be.

I remember my lowest golf score. I remember taking second in a triathlon after age 60. But my most significant memories are of trips to third world countries where I reached out to bless someone else and came home blessed by them.

Plan to stay healthy

Retread by determining to stay healthy. There is not need to gain weight or lose muscle because of retirement; walk, run, play, swim. Make it a goal to keep active for an hour every day and don’t settle for less than a half an hour. How sad to reach this stage of life where you have some freedom and then lose the quality of life that will allow you to enjoy it. Eat right, stay connected with friends and family and keep moving! That’s what retreads are for!

Plan to make it fun.

Have fun. Plan to enjoy those sports and activities that you never had time for before. Plan to enjoy the travel that work would not allow. Enjoy every minute of the day. Only one word of caution here. Some of those people who I have found to be most miserable in retirement were the ones who thought that endless golf, tennis, or travel would sustain them in retirement. A word of caution. One of the greatest mistakes you can make is to plan for a life of leisure without purpose. I wrote about this in my book Fully Alive.

“I’ve seen this happen when men and women retire. “I’ve arrived! What next?” Too often the answer is depression,
loss of direction, and even death. As Anne Lamott’s father, Kenneth, wrote, “A life oriented to leisure is in the end
a life oriented to death––the greatest leisure of all.” I’ve seen it happen when people stop seeking truth because they
“know it all.” Until we stand in the presence of the One who created us, we still have work to do and life to live.
Plan to live it big. Plan to live until you live FOREVER!”

Your job does not and never will define WHO YOU ARE.  When your job stops it may be your chance to BE WHO YOU ARE.

[reminder]What do you think? Retire or retread?[/reminder]