Baby boomers dream of retirement with a smile on their face, anticipating a life of leisure when they can finally do the things they want to do. Free from the stress of office deadlines, early mornings and corporate politics, at first retirement offers seniors the chance to breathe a sigh of relief. Unfortunately, over time, some retirees learn that the reality surrounding retirement is often quite different than what they expected.
It is not uncommon for newly retired boomers to experience feelings of boredom and depression after the initial exhilaration of leaving their jobs behind. There are many explanations about why negative emotions and mental issues arise for new retirees. The lack of structure causes problems for some people.
A loss of identity is another adjustment for people who have identified as an attorney, dentist or customer service associate for decades. The challenge faced by many seniors is to find a new identity or purpose in life after leaving the workplace.
Below are some tips for adjusting and thriving during retirement years.
1. Harvard Business Review recommends investing time and energy in personal relationships.
Now that you have more time on your hands you have the perfect opportunity to strengthen personal relationships and make new friends. The Harvard Longitudinal Study found that close personal relationships are one of the most important keys to happiness.
The best way to fight the isolation that many new retirees experience is to get busy with people. As office workers, Baby Boomers enjoyed a certain amount of automatic social activity that is no longer available to them. So, it is up to retirees to create social connections in their new life outside of the office.
2. Consider part-time employment or volunteering.
Many retirees find personal fulfillment from a part-time job or volunteering to remain active and feel like contributing members of society. Not only will a part-time job provide some income, but it can also be a good source of social connection.
Some people retire from their career position at retirement, jumping immediately into a low-stress job that is less demanding and more fun. Others decide to volunteer for causes they support as a way to stay active and accomplish some good in the world.
3. Reinvent yourself.
Retirement offers boomers a unique opportunity to reinvent themselves. Who hasn’t daydreamed about joining a band, writing a book or traveling the country in an RV? Often postponed for practical reasons related to career priorities or family obligations, retirees are often freed up to take a walk on the wild side that is long overdue.
4. Continue learning.
One of the best ways to keep your mind sharp as you age is to continue learning. Whether you want to commit to something as demanding as getting a formal degree or you are more interested in learning a new language or sport, using your brain regularly to acquire new knowledge and skills is an excellent way to spend your time and build self-esteem.
One of the best advantages of technology is how it has opened up online learning. YouTube is one of the best free resources available. You can learn almost anything you want to know from a YouTube video.
5. Manage your mindset and view retirement more as a journey and less as a destination.
Chances are you’ve heard somebody say that “attitude is everything” before. Depending on the way you approach retirement, you will either view your life as ending once you collect that gold watch and stop working, or you will view this last chapter of life as a wonderful adventure.
The good news is that you have the power to adopt whatever mindset you want. By viewing retirement as part of the journey, it becomes easy to get excited by the opportunities available to you now that you are no longer obliged to report to work from Monday to Friday.
6. Welcome change.
While change is tough for a lot of people, boomers brave enough to embrace change are much more likely to enjoy retirement. The inevitability of change as you retire and establish a brand new lifestyle demands your willingness to accept changes and even to welcome them.
If you can call on that curiosity you once enjoyed as a child when everything in life was special and exciting, then you will be able to view this rite of passage as a wonderful gift.
Remember leaving school to become an adult. You survived that enormous change and excelled. Much like that time of life, you are entering retirement. For many people, this is the best time of life when you can revert back to fulfilling your most basic desires without worrying about raising children and pleasing a boss.
7. Consider becoming a mentor.
There are few things in life more fulfilling than helping a fellow human being along their path. As a seasoned professional who has gained a lot of knowledge worth passing on to younger people, becoming a mentor is one way to connect with the very people you can help the most.
8. Set goals.
Baby boomers have been setting goals throughout life. Retirement is no excuse to stop setting goals for yourself. Granted, those goals will probably change somewhat, but that does not mean they should no longer be there to inspire forward progress. As long as you have dreams, you should have goals to help you accomplish those aspirations.
Being prepared financially for your final years during retirement is only part of what you’ll need to enjoy your golden years. This third phase of life requires that we adjust to a completely new way of living. Baby boomers that nurture their relationships, welcome change, and cultivate new interests are likely to thrive.