Seniors: Redefining Retirement

Jan 26th, 2011 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Can we redefine retirement?  Whatever definition applies when first retired is likely to be changed as time goes by.  Circumstances, beyond our control, have a a way of revaluating our lifestyle, our expectations, our patterns for living.  So, the question is not whether we can redefine retirement, it is whether we shall be prepared to do so. 

Every decade introduces a whole new set of unanticipated possibilities.  Some are refreshing, others are demoralizing, still others are neutral, but still require accomodating.  In my seventh decade, that which the Bible extols, I have found adjustments and twists and turns I could not necessarily have expected.  Some, however, are predictable.  They follow patterns.  They are endemic to aging.  Redefining retirement carries with it a whole barrel full of apples, some of them very crisp and tasty, some sour and not so pleasant.  My preference is Granny Smith.  They are much like life, some sharp and tangy, others juicy and crunchy.

Redefining retirement can look like this:  When health issues begin to beg your attention, it is clear that some evaluation of one’s own capabilities physically need to be made.  What will you surrender in activity?  What can you do to protect the possibility of an ongoing active life?  What are the changes that may be imposed by physical limitations?  How can some of those be headed off?  Is there inevitability to factors of aging that discourage a full and energetic existence?  Redefining retirement will require inspecting these matters with care and honesty.  However, surrendering is not the only option.  Stamina may be increased by fighting back against those debilitating discouragements that may come our way.

When finances are threatened and your own resources are less sufficient for living out the life style you had planned, what is there to do?  There are numerous and sundry options for dealing with this increasingly haunting possiblity.  Little steps lead to bigger ones when discovering that reducing overhead and lowering costs is the fundamental necessity in this situation.  More and more of us are finding that there is more and more we can do without.  Is it always comfortable to say no to yourself and family?  Not likely.  But it is sometimes a demonstration of wisdom to put in place a more strict spending policy for everyone in your family.  Now is the time to enforce and reinforce patterns of spending which will take away the later discomfort of bills you really aren’t in a position to pay.

Getting along with your spouse is another of those dynamics which may be introduced along the way.  Life is clearly different after retirement.  There is more time spent together.  There are more issues to be resolved in concert.  There are more choices to make.  Life is just fraught with more of everything involving emotion, decision, discussion and resolve. Redefining retirement means coming to a plateau when all of these considerations are given a fair airing and allowed an equitable outcome.  Perhaps, it will be as easy as taking turns who comes out prevailing with his/her desire.

Making and choosing friends who are compatible with your lifestyle and other orientations.  Clearly, it is impossible in today’s culture, for the most part, to hook up with people who share your perspectives 100%.  More than that it is also boring and lacking in stimulation.   Deciding you are mature enough to interact with others whose points of view, on all subjects, differ from your own means your level of conversation can be active and animated without having to be confrontative and divisive.  Learning how to do that may take a lot of work, but give and take, which is honest and forthright, can be an experience in growing beyond a small and outmoded frame of mind that lends nothing to the likelihood of a developing friendship.  

Discovering new things to do to keep you entertained.  This is one that really will give redefinition a workout.  Most of us enjoy the comfortable niche we make for ourselves.  If it is a LaZy Boy situated before a big screen TV with ample beer nearby, after awhile that grows as stale as that too long opened bottle of beer.  Maybe a night or two of TV is okay, but not a perpetual and repetitive habit of the same practice night after night.  Some, better at it than I am, choose to go out for dinner and dancing a time or two every week.  I can handle the dinner alright, but the dancing has become more of an arthritic challenge.  So, there you are, faced with finding possibilities and excitements which may offer new and provocative ways to spend evenings or other occasions, including weekends and holidays. 

Redefining retirement is not a one time occasion.  We will be met with frequently needing to evaluate how healthy our combined understanding and acting out of our relationship(s) really is.  It will provide opportunity for offering ideas and suggestions as you sit at coffee in the morning, not at home, but somewhere you decided to go on the spur of the moment.  See what I mean?  Redefining retirement may start with a small spark of  an idea.  It may produce a  sufficient fire to warm the cockles of your heart.



Tags: , ,

One comment
Leave a comment »

  1. Seniors: Redefining Retirement | Senior Citizen Journal…

    Here at World Spinner we are debating the same thing……

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.