Don’t let retirement define you!

I know she didn’t mean any harm by it, but when my hairdresser asked “So how are you finding retirement?” I wanted to scream! It was the fourth time in a week I’d been asked the same question and each time I felt as if I’d just been filed away on a shelf with every other retiree.

The fact is, retirement is not a state – not a physical or an economic one, and certainly not a state of mind. Retirement doesn’t define you or lock you into a code of behaviours. It doesn’t dictate who you are, what you do, where you go or how you behave. Retirement is what you make it, and at its best it’s one of the most freeing, life-affirming periods of life you ever likely to encounter.

If you’re about to retire, are recently retired, or want to re-invent yourself after years of retirement, here’re 7 ways kick-start the best years of your life!

  1. Get a job. Retirement doesn’t mean you have to put on your slippers. If you’ve been a teacher or a plumber all your life, and secretly wanted to be a check-out operator, re-train or simply apply for a job. Maturity counts where employers are concerned, and haven’t you just spent decades proving you can hold down a job!
  2. Travel. Reduced income is no reason not to start travelling. Home exchanging, house-sitting, backpacking and couch surfing are all do-able, fun ways to see your own country and the world, without breaking the bank.
  3. Move it! There’s never been a better time to become active. In fact, recent research has shown that movement is one of the best ways to stave off dementia. Check out a seniors’ gym class, tramping clubs, and walking groups that cater for a range of fitness levels. And if you want to tackle endurance sports, there’s no reason not to (just get the check-up first.)
  4. Drama queen (or king!). Always wanted to go on the stage? Then now’s the time to do it. Maturity has a way of allowing us to throw off those old inhibitions and step out of our comfort zones. Follow your dreams with an amateur theatrical club near you.
  5. Embrace technology. All it takes to get to grips with technology is time – which is why retirement is so freeing. Buy that new phone or tablet you’ve been hankering after. Take the instructions one step at a time and if you need help, make a date with Senior Net.
  6. Check it out! Got questions about the world that are still waiting to be answered? There’s no better time than now to check them out. So head into town to see what clubbing is all about.  o to the races and take a bet on a horse. Scare yourself silly on a roller coaster. Google ‘Spotify’ and sign up. Build yourself a free blog page with WordPress.
  7. Be you, not a retiree. Be whoever you are and, more importantly, whoever you want to be. Whether it’s buying that Jet Ski or learning to skydive, just DO IT! (And if your hairdresser really does ask how you’re finding retirement, be sure to get her to colour your hair purple. Or teal. Heck, why not green!