I was amused by a lady entering retirement who described the rest of her life as being on her next to last dog. In her mind, her life expectancy was measured by the time two more dogs would come into her life and then die. I suppose she was thinking she had another 24 – 30 years left, still a long time to spend taking care of her next two dogs . . . but unfortunately, she had no other plans for making her encore years as fulfilling as possible.
Many baby boomers regard their “second adult life” with similar resignation. Their best hope for this life stage is that things will automatically work out – maybe have time left to own a couple of dogs, play some golf and possibly volunteer at something meaningful. However, after the day finally arrives their new reality soon becomes a much different experience.
Financial issues, caregiving for a parent, health limitations or a feeling of insignificance often takes center stage, quickly crowding out what had been expected. Also, changing social circles and the absence of daily routines from a work career soon leaves many retirees bored, frustrated and/or feeling that life has lost its purpose.
As a “retiree” myself, I can certainly relate to the realities of going from a fully engaged work life to one requiring me to transform to new ways of thinking and living. Once the honeymoon period of no routines or responsibilities wore off, I quickly found myself searching for new retirement options. Fortunately, I did discover my renewed purpose and I’m now living the dream that I didn’t think was possible.
In fact, the word “retirement” should no longer belong in our vocabulary. And instead of our lives going “to the dogs,” let’s look forward to the most exciting, purposeful and rewarding years still to come.