Most of us have plans and goals throughout our lives, but our careers have forced us to delay accomplishing them. Once you’re retired, the work and time factors are no longer issues. That means now is the time to do all the things that you wanted to do all of your life but simply didn’t have the time. For some, the ideal retirement involves chasing once-in-a-lifetime adventures—sky diving from 13,000 feet, hiking the Great Wall of China, swimming with sharks or skiing the Andes. What’s not to love about a life of dream vacations and big thrills? Well, some people get more excitement from being involved in the community and fostering connections with friends and family. Whatever journey you choose in retirement, the key is to make it meaningful to you.
The Ideal Retirement is Different for Everyone
To help make your retirement meaningful, there are a series of questions of questions to ask yourself when planning an activity: What is my mission? Is it simply to have fun? To spend time with a partner? To learn about history or a geographic location?
The answers will show the depth and meaning of the activity within one’s life and predict its impact on others. If you are passionate about researching your family origins, then you should plan a trip to discover the lands of your ancestors. Perhaps you are enthusiastic about the Olympic Games and want to see where they began in Athens, Greece. Since 1896, more than 40 cities have hosted the games. A majority of them are in Europe, so you can easily visit many of the Olympic stadiums and villages by car or train. While on this adventure, you should visit the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland which isn’t far from the International Olympic Committee headquarters at Vidy.
If you find the most joy when your pursuits are done for others, then tap into your strengths and become a mentor and role model – whether as a volunteer, community leader or care giver. Though these roles are sometimes discounted as conventional, staid pathways, they offer meaning and excitement that adventure travel doesn’t.
Perhaps you are a part of the growing group of seniors that feel that your ideal retirement will still involve working. Based on a nationally representative poll of more than 7,000 respondents, the comprehensive study, “Work in Retirement: Myths and Motivations,” showed that while previous generations saw retirement as the permanent end of work followed by continuous leisure, the modern-day reality for many retirees and pre-retirees is a dynamic future that it defines as “the new retirement workscape.”
For many, work is an enriching experience that may not end at the age of 65 or even 70. Whether it’s continuing to do what they love, pursuing a long-desired interest or simply seeking to remain socially engaged. The retirees that preferred to work through retirement said it helped keep them mentally active, maintained social connections and provided a sense of self-worth.
Whatever journey you decide to take in retirement, the key is to focus on what makes you happy. Whether it’s zip-lining through a rainforest, sailing around the world, or volunteering at a local community center, make sure that you fill your time with meaningful activities. Retirement doesn’t have to mean slow down – make it your own!