In the past retirement was often referred to as the ‘third age’ – following on as it did from our first age which was one of education, and our second which focussed on our work and careers.
This concept no longer fits life today, where we are encouraged to include elements of education, work and leisure at all stages of our lives, and where many will continue to work well into their 60s, 70s and even beyond.
The Japanese have a second life – and so can we!
The Japanese have an interesting concept to describe this phase of life. They call it ‘Second Life’ and it refers more to a state of mind than a workplace or financial issue. The Japanese believe that when a person reaches middle age, he or she becomes a ‘respected elder’ in society. The respected elder has gained a perspective on life that comes from introspection, experience and perspective. (You might like to run that past a son, daughter or grandchild next time they snigger in a less than respectful way at your lack of understanding of modern technology or other current trends!)
The interesting thing about the Japanese concept is that it relates more to who you are rather than what you are going to do, so is an internal concept. This is a healthy way of thinking at any time but especially as retirement – with all its major life changes and adjustments – approaches. Entering Second Life means transitioning one’s mind into this next stage of life. This is the period in your life when your family responsibilities have changed and you can focus on your ‘inner peace’, get closer to your soul, and use your wisdom to benefit younger generations.
This next phase of your life gives you the opportunity to:
- Find life’s meaning and tie your life plan more closely to the values and life goals you may have always had but not had time for in the past.
- Achieve life balance – retirement can be a fulfilling combination of quality leisure, satisfying work and a pursuit of self-knowledge.
- Realise lifelong dreams – this is a time to turn your dreams into goals by creating the strategy needed to make them happen.
These are all wonderful goals to work towards, particularly now you will have the time needed to turn these into reality. However, for many, the day-to-day realities of life as a recently retired person can overshadow loftier aspirations, particularly if they haven’t been addressed or even considered prior to retirement.
Next month we will look at the more practical issues around retirement, and at some of the challenges that may affect your retirement plans.