I’m only 53 and am surrounded by retired friends.
I love having friends of all ages. Lately, I find myself going to retirement parties just as frequently as 50th birthday parties and baby showers! It’s a phase of life that I know less about and I’m fascinated to learn more.
Just fascinated. Not because I’m unhappy now. Rather, it’s because I want to make sure I don’t have regrets.
I got laid off and changed my career completely.
I went from being a member of a union in a publishing department in a hospital for 19 years to a Master Certified Life & Weight Coach and entrepreneur. While the lay off forced my hand to make a change, it was an amazing opportunity and I took full advantage of it.
However, when I got my lay off notice, I was also unexpectedly and prematurely thrown into the world of retirement talk, having to quickly get up to speed on things like a vested pension plan, retirement benefits, rights, payouts and the like.
It was all new to me; frankly, it was overwhelming to even think about things that I thought I wouldn’t have to know for about another 15 years or so.
In the last few years, several friends and colleagues have retired. Some planned to retire, others were packaged out in a reorganization. Regardless, I’m clearly in a different phase of life now, surrounded by many more friends new to retirement than new to a maternity leave.
Here’s what I’ve noticed about the friends who are actively talking about retirement and those who are newly retired:
They take a keen interest in their finances. I’ve noticed that friends who are close to retirement and those newly retired get more acquainted with their financial situation. Even if they had no interest before. They seek out more advice, go to workshops, crunch numbers over and over again. They run lots of scenarios so they have a good handle on their options.
They ready themselves to be of service to their parents and their children. My friends are now involved in babysitting, driving to doctor appointments and sponsoring wonderful family trips.
They often move to a smaller town so they can capitalize on their real estate value. Some of my friends are downsizing to a condo, but more are moving to smaller towns where they can enjoy less traffic, a slower pace and a large, new home.
They often move to a town closer to where grandchildren live. Some of my friends are packing up and moving to be much closer to their grandchildren.
They have no trouble filling their time if they had hobbies. Friends with rich volunteer lives and artistic hobbies are having a blast and are busy. Sewing, quilting, photography, carpentry, even investments. More time to do everything!
They travel. Boy do they travel. Asia, Africa, Israel, Spain, Iceland and more!
They leave cold weather, at least in the winter. This seems to be the most common thing to do; who needs to increase the risk of falling and being inside during a good chunk of the year?
They are happy and don’t miss work at all. I haven’t run into anyone who misses work, however, some talk about missing their socials lives at work. This speaks volumes, right?
So, how can having retired friends be good for your health?
1. It makes you think about what you want and what you don’t want. Sometimes we’re not really sure of how we think and feel until we have an authentic response or reaction to something. If you see someone doing something you might want to do, you will start thinking about it. And if you see something you would never be interested in, now you know.
2. It raises your awareness about what’s possible some day when you retire. So many of us are just too busy with life to even imagine what could be. It’s a great time to start putting some dreams together for yourself.
3. It draws your attention to your feelings when you’re hearing about their plans and decisions. This awareness helps you understand what you’re passionate about…what you really want and what you really don’t want to regret.
4. It takes you to new places when you go to visit. It’s just plain fun to get out and see and explore different places and lifestyles, and also see why it’s attractive to retire to these different communities.
“Pre-Pre-Retirement Dreaming” is good for you to start thinking about, especially in your 40s and 50s.
Having retired friends is kind of like experiencing menopause. It’s not a huge change, but it’s enough of a change to notice that you’re in a different chapter of your life.
I’m a firm believer that we don’t spend enough time thinking about what we really, really want in our lives after we’re about 40 years old. Noticing what our friends are doing in their retirement is a gentle way to start thinking about what we might like to do; it’s also a gentle reminder that if we don’t create what we want, no one else will do it for us.
Having retired friends is good for your peace of mind, your mental health and your ability to dream. It’s all part of what I like to call “Regret Proofing 101.” I’m happy to call my retired friends some of my best teachers in this thing we call life.
My coaching clients are people just like you.
Many are working moms. They are afraid they may have regrets about what they didn’t do in their lives. I love helping them sort it all out and make sure they create a life they can INDEED get excited about. And it’s a great ride!
It’s cliche, but life really is too short to have regrets. I can help.
Midlife can get funky and can sometimes be overwhelming. Read my 10 simple steps to bust out of your midlife funk and get going with some really easy things you can do right now!