Retirement!!! what a word! It’s loaded with so many meanings and innuendos! I often wonder if the english language is inadequate to describe a situation properly! Such a situation is Retirement. Retirement to me is transitioning from a structured full time work environment with less-personal time & choice to an unstructured and more flexible world with greater personal time and choice. I’m discovering that retirement is not binary – you used to work and now you don’t, you’re too busy working and now you have tons of time on your hands, your life is full of tension and now a life with happy pension! Although there is some truth in that, retirement as life generally is much more nuanced and complex. And yes, you need to prepare for it. And yes, as I am realizing you need to find a balance of structured and unstructured activities. Have some personal time and time with family and friends but above all work hard to keep your mind positive, no matter what and you can do that by focusing on the good in people…Culturally, the word “Retirement” seems to reflect the general culture. A culture of winning or losing, happy or unhappy, working or retired… But retirement is not a destination where you arrive with all your worries evaporated and dreams about to come true. Rather, retirement, as with work, is an intermingled series of happy and unhappy moments with many neutral ones. When I look at my happiest moments in retirement, they are similar moments to when I was working. Whether it’s playing Euchre late at night with special friends or when I took few kids in my sports car and saw their genuine almost goofy smiles on their innocent faces or having a warm chat with a friend over a cappuccino and biscotti. These encounters are what ultimately matters and the more you have, the more you will be left with a high spirit, calm mind and a grateful heart.
Since my retirement, I heard comments- you are so lucky, you look younger and less stressed. Frankly, I did not realize that I looked old and stressed, before retirement:) It’s hilarious how people react when I say I don’t feel retired or bored or too busy to do what’s important- to spend time with family & friends, to eat well, spend time out golfing and skiing. Wait a minute, but this is exactly what I did when I was working! I’m just doing it more. Few people told me they failed retirement and immediately went back to work. I’m not sure if there is a right answer but as I said earlier, if what you do leaves you with a high spirit, calm mind and a grateful heart, then you’re doing it right, retirement or not!
I have never been clearer about my priorities, it’s Not the mindless drive to win! It’s more about increasing the number of daily happy moments which can only be done by deeply connecting with yourself while appreciating and making other people happy. Gentle moments like visiting my shoe-repairman friend and seeing how proud he is as he tells stories about his kids, and sometime it’s when the noise of the world is drowned out as as I hear the roar of my Lamborghini and marvel at its engineering and elegance. Life is that simple and that complex and you have the power to drive and manage it through its ups & downs.
Deepen your self-awareness and strengthen your human relationships, they are your fuel to help you navigate through the happy and tough days. My best discovery this year is yoga (hot & cold), it makes me more self-aware, focused, centered and balanced. Critically helpful in a world filled with distractions and superficiality – give it a try, if you can!
Here’s my conclusion, if you are delaying any aspects of your life until you retire, you are wasting precious moments of your life. You should never wait till you retire, till you have more time to do what makes you happy. Start transitioning into retirement as soon as you can, and live in state of Retiresition- this is somewhere between being fully captured by work and fully retired. Take more walks, more yoga, appreciate your family & friends, put more smiles on more children’ faces, enjoy the small stuff. Better minds have labeled this ‘living in the moment, retirement or not – So, live in the moment, with love!