Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.
Ask someone what they want to do for the next ten years, and the answer will most likely depend on the person’s age. At age 20, with a whole life in front of you, the solution may entail school, choosing a career, or floating free and letting life’s winds carry you to whatever destination fate has in store. At retirement age, the question may require more thoughtful reflection as the possibilities are many. What to do with all the time available in retirement merits, in my opinion, focused deliberation. Among all the possible choices available, how can a retiree cull the list to a manageable and achievable level?
After decades of pursuing a career, retirees can sit back and ponder their future and control how to spend their time. Some have accumulated a bucket list of activities and check them off as they are achieved or discarded. Although, a bucket list usually involves activities of short duration, such as climbing Everest, swimming with turtles, snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef, trekking the Camino de Santiago in Spain. But, then, what do you do with the time between these activities?
I read an article recently which espoused an interesting approach regarding assessing what to do in retirement: ask yourself what, if anything, you would have done differently with your life or do you have any regrets.
One of the most important decisions you can ever make is choosing an occupation. For many, once elected, that occupation lasts for decades. Society encourages young people to choose careers at an early age, an age when they are still “finding” themselves and too young to make informed decisions affecting the next 40 years.
Having worked in a particular field for many years and having gained the wisdom of experience, exposure to diverse professions, and a better understanding of your likes and dislikes, would you have opted to pursue a different job if you knew then what you know now? Instead of being a lawyer, you might be more interested in being involved in the theater arts. Instead of coping with the challenges of owning a business, is working with a non-profit social enterprise enticing? Rather than working in a corporate environment, is forestry inviting?
Of course, you don’t want to rejoin the workforce, but searching for opportunities to engage in a personal passion or interest on a volunteer or part-time basis can renew your sense of accomplishment and commitment.
In my situation as an example, I worked in finance for over 40 years. However, I have always loved the theater. I now volunteer in a local community theater in the production department, helping with stage setting and design. The theater puts on several plays per season, which provides me with intermittent involvement as plays are changed. I acted in high school and college play productions, and I’ve thought about acting in a play now, but, at my age, I’m wary of remembering my lines.
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – C.S. Lewis
– Joe from Arizona, a FAR customer who is finding purpose in this new stage of his life.
* The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of the Finance of America Reverse (FAR) LLC