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]


  1. I ordered your DVD “Fully Alive” and my wife and I watched it last night . . . really good. Afterwards I ran through the neighborhood yelling “I’m alive . . . everyone out, time to start running.” After a few encounters it came to me that they have not seen your DVD. At 69 I do the bicycle and weights at the gym. They call me the “eggg-uggg” man (anyone that has seen your DVD will understand this). Thanks for your funny stuff and the spiritual inspiration you offer. We’re ready for another cruise to Alaska.

  2. I do more retired than I did while employed, yes I mean including the time I spent behind my desk. Next year I may actually go back to my former place of employment. I don’t plan on doing any work, but, if they follow through on opening the grounds to deer hunting you can bet I’ll be the first in line to put in for their hunting raffle. since I just lost my train of thought I think it’s time to grab the remote to my easy chair and lay back to take a nap.

  3. Deer Creek Camp theme summer 2013 was “FULLY ALIVE” and now for 2014 “SET FREE” Our method of ministry is Life Style Evangelism and at age 67 my wife and I are intnetionally adventure into young lives. Excited to gleen more great ideas

  4. You’re describing the kind of retirement I’m looking forward to, Ken. One where I have more direct impact on more people than ever. What joy!

  5. My husband just read this post and brought the iPad over for me to read and respond. I asked him if he would like to write something and he said I could do it. He shared that this post spoke to his heart. He retired this year due to a serious health matter and we are finding a new normal in our lives. He just finished a volunteer job and is looking forward to the next one with a local ministry. His life has drastically changed this year and he is trying to find his retread…it is an adjustment but we know God has his hands all over this new life for us. Thanks for your insights and to the heart talks. Blessings to all of you in 2014!

  6. I’ve a part time job that I’ve enjoyed for the past 26 years. I just found out that the ‘job title’ is being re-classified, the technology is being up-graded—and my employer will be recruiting for my position. While I’ve been ‘invited’ to apply for that position, the technology that’s being up-graded is beyond my knowledge/expertise. I’m in my 74th year of life; have met with age discrimination in the past; don’t want to retire- – -must figure out the HOW TO keep a roof over my head. Renting a room to someone is out as I’ve done that through the years and it seldom works. Pls. don’t ‘hear this’ as an ORGAN RECITAL…..just wondering what employment I might find at this stage of life to continue to support myself. I don’t live an OVER-THE-TOP lifestyle.

  7. Pingback: Retire Or Retread? | The Family

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