This Isn’t Your Daddy’s Retirement

Many of our readers have told us that they plan to work in some form for the rest of their lives … and are happy to do so.

Not just for the monetary benefit, but to put their lifetime of skills to good use. They get to teach the next generations in the workplace what they know, while staying firmly on top of the learning curve.

Some tell us, “What better way to stay sharp, active and social, while continuing to save for a rainy day?”

Even if your role changes to part-time, or with less travel or heavy lifting, it can be a real blessing to have the option to keep working in a way that works for you. And we admire everyone who is redefining what traditional retirement looks like.

Today Donald J. Trump, at age 70, will be sworn in as U.S. president. Starting a new job can be intense, no matter what your age. But to take on the top job in the nation — and quite possibly the world — at age 70 officially shatters the image of traditional retirement, no matter how you define it.

We all want intense experiences that highlight our reason for being. For some folks, if they don’t have that kind of excitement and purpose in life, then they may not find it possible to be truly happy. We suspect this is a powerful motivator for Mr. Trump.

It will be interesting to see how our 45th president fares as he aims to apply his business acumen to running the country, in a role where his predecessors have received harsh criticism for every vacation or perceived moment of relaxation. But as pretty much all of us can attest, it’s easy to get wrapped up in our work or other passionate pursuits … and sometimes this happens to the exclusion of other components that make up a happy life.

This makes us think of the thesis of retirement coach Larry Jacobson. He’s a big advocate for finding and pursuing one’s passion in life. But he also thinks that balance is a key ingredient in the happiness recipe.

Writing for the retirement-lifestyle website nextavenue.com, Jacobson says that retirement itself is a balancing act. And the happiest retirees he knows are interested in more than a lone passion … they lead balanced lives.

According to Jacobson:

"From my experience as a retirement coach, while the happiest retirees have a passion, they leave enough room in their lives for the other spokes of the wheel."

These "spokes of the wheel" represent all the important areas in one’s life that need to be present for there to be a true sense of harmony and balance in your life.

This is particularly true for those in retirement, or who are approaching retirement. It generally means that there is no more career ladder to climb that dominates your daily existence.

So, how do you go about achieving this ethereal sense of balance?

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Here, Jacobson offers up several good suggestions on how to improve your life balance while in retirement.

1) Share and mentor: As a retiree, you’ve no doubt got a lifetime of knowledge and skills you’ve accumulated. Jacobson suggests passing it on to future generations via volunteering to teach and/or mentor others who could benefit. I like this one, because in a small way it helps one’s personal legacy continue to the next generation.

2) Stay physically and mentally active: Here there’s a variety of ways you can keep your body and your mind vibrant. Jacobson suggests activities such as yoga, running, swimming, biking … and even the traditional retirement sport of golf. I also think that activities such as playing a musical instrument or learning a new physical skill and/or hobby are great ways to stay both physically and mentally sharp.

3) Stay healthy: Jacobson suggests putting in more time and effort into shopping at healthier places such as farmers’ markets and other less-convenient shopping options. He also recommends spending more time and effort preparing meals and cooking healthy foods. Of course, he takes it for granted that regular exercise is a key part of staying healthy and balanced.

4) Travel, explore and learn: Whether it’s sailing around the world, exploring the USA in a motor home, or simply becoming a tourist in your hometown, Jacobson says exploring and learning about new people and places will help keep you balanced. I know that when I travel to new places, I tend to come back with a fresh perspective on things. This has definitely enhanced my sense of harmony and balance.

5) Work on relationships: Jacobson says if you have a relationship with a spouse or partner, then work to really improve that relationship. And if you don’t currently have a relationship, then think about getting into one. The benefits here are obvious to me, but I know that relationships are complex and sometimes difficult to improve. And while every situation is unique, one key component to every relationship is good communication. So, why not start with the goal of improving communication with those closest to you?

Finally, Jacobson says that one key component of achieving balance in life is to make a plan.

Per the retirement coach:

"Try a day without a plan and see what you achieve. Then try it again by planning the night before how you’ll spend the next day. Include times, people, events and errands. You’ll see a marked difference when you have a day plan. Imagine what you could achieve if you had a plan for your newly balanced life!"

Good advice, indeed … and some great insights for us all to incorporate into a life of harmony and balance.

And this may be especially pertinent to those of us who follow politics with perhaps the same passion as those who are actively involved in it each day.

Best wishes,

The Uncommon Wisdom Daily Team