A wise person once said that you should never retire from something, you should always retire to something. The premise behind the statement being that if you retire from something then you are leaving a big vid in your life, an emptiness that is hard to fill. You are defining your retirement by what it isn’t rather than what it is. This is all good and well, but the reason so many people from and not to something is because they don’t really know what there is to retire to. If, up to the age of 65 your life has been defined by your work and your family, and now your work is finished, and your children have left home and are living their own lives; then what do you have left? Well, here are a few things to consider.
If retiring means moving out of the old family home and into a retirement complex, then look to find a place that has a genuine sense of community. An online search for something along the lines of ‘retirement communities Brisbane Southside’ should give you an idea of what different complexes have to offer. Some are for the frail and those in need of permanent care, while others are great places for the freshly retired, with activities like bridge, travel outings, bowls or movie nights. The point is that you need to find a place that suits your style and personality and then get involved. The more involved you are in your new community the better.
If your children have not moved out of the area and are perhaps now starting families of their own, then see how you can get involved in helping them. Supportive grandparents are a real blessing and it is a huge boon for children to be able to call on their parents for help with things like baby-sitting, lifts from school and sleep overs. It is also a great opportunity for grandparents to forge their own relationships with their grand-children. So, invest heavily in this area.
Start a business
If you have spent your whole working life toiling for the man, earning a salary and being a cog in a wheel, maybe retirement is the time to start the business that you always dreamed of running. Don’t be foolhardy and spend all your retirement funds on making it happen. The last thing you want is for it to fail, leaving you without any savings and facing the prospect of having to seek employment again. Finding work at 70 years old is not something that you want to be doing out of necessity – out of choice perhaps, but that is another matter.
Look to put back into the broader community by getting involved with local non-profit organizations. Work a shift at the local Oxfam (or similar), get involved with the church, go and serve food at a soup kitchen or work the desk at a local animal shelter. Whatever it is that strikes a chord with you, just get involved. Aging gracefully and enjoying your retirement is about staying active; and what better way to stay active than through volunteering for a cause.