really means. Most people look forward to retirement as a time of relative liberation; of having the time and freedom to do whatever they want. But the word retire, from French retirer, actually means to withdraw.
So, when we choose to retire, we are actually choosing to halt any expansion and exploration; we are choosing to contract and to isolate ourselves from the world around us. In my opinion, once we have withdrawn from the world, the only step left is to die. But this is what many, many individuals have chosen for themselves as they enter their 50s.
In my experience as a financial coach and wealth consultant, it is men in particular who tend to struggle with retirement – if only because they (traditionally) have been spending their days outside of the home, contributing in a work or business environment. Once they stop work, they not only have to adjust to a change of schedule, but also a change of environment. In contrast, women of the Baby Boomer generation have most likely spent time in the home, with their family. These women may struggle at a slightly different point in their life. Normally this is when the children leave home and she has to let go of her life’s work; her creation (ie. the family).
It is for these reasons – the withdrawal, the ill health, the uncomfortable adjustments – that I would like to confront the entire concept of withdrawing in your later life. I would like to retire the concept of retirement!
Instead of withdrawing from life once you enter your 50s, I recommend you continue to create, contribute and expand in the following ways:
Pursue a dream: Many of us pursued the careers and opportunities that were made available to us when we were young – whether that be a corporate career, motherhood, trade or profession. If you had to forgo a personal dream to follow this path, then now is the perfect time to fulfil that inspired need. Ask yourself, what did I give up earlier in life that I can now take up? Then, take real steps to pursue it. Don’t be afraid to reinvent yourself and, vitally, never stop learning. These days, with online courses, you can learn and become anything you desire.
Create: All of life is a creation in some respect and if you’re not creating, you’re dying. Ask yourself, how can I engage my creative energy? It may be painting, gardening, cooking, entrepreneurism or farming. Or simply be like one of my uncles, currently in his 80s, and start each day with a crossword puzzle.
Use your skills in different ways: You cannot reach your 50s without gathering valuable experience, skills and expertise. Take this time to turn your skills into new endeavors. This may come in the form of consulting, mentoring or philanthropy. The important thing is to find a sense of joy, purpose, and meaning in your daily life. Find ways to contribute – firstly, to yourself and then, to others.
SEE PUBLISHED ARTICLE