It is a fact that people in developed nations are living longer, healthier lives. The healthier part is especially critical. In this, the information age, we all know about the benefits of exercise and a proper diet. It is woven in the fabric of our lives and it is made the tapestry of life that much stronger.
Technology is changing the work place as well. Arduous, sometimes dangerous or repetitive work is being handled by mechanical devices driven by powerful computers that did not exist a decade ago. People are being freed up for higher tasks. Where once we toiled, now we repose and dream of new, creative professions we can excel in. New careers in teaching, the arts, consulting, even travel writing are available to people of ever advancing ages.
Average age for retirement is 65
Traditionally, as we age, we set a number in our minds for when we will retire. We are told by society that our “golden years” should be spent in idle pursuit of knitting or whittling away at sticks of wood. We have earned this rest, we are told, this is the natural progression of life, we hear. Well traditions are meant to be broken, retirement has a different number now. Why would we drive ourselves into a stultifying lifestyle when we still have so much to give? The world has changed and so have we.
Choosing to work beyond your retirement years gives your mind something to thrive on. Like the muscles in your body, the more you work them, the stronger they become. Neglect your mind, let it idle when it should be in gear, and you are just spinning your wheels. Scientists have proven an active mind is a healthy mind. Work offers continuous challenges that do your mind good.
A universal truth
You have undoubtedly heard the expression “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. Yes. This is a universal truth. You cannot simply work. What is the purpose? Of what use is money, if you never spend it? Of what use is an active mind if you never share it? Work remains important throughout life, and so does play. It is all about balance. Work gives you the means to play, play gives you the motivation to work.
So how does one play when in their golden years?” Forget about the obvious answers, think of your loved ones. Your spouse, your kids, grown now, but still wanting your attention. Your grandkids who crave the wisdom you radiate. Spend time with them. Take them out and show them the world through your eyes. Your experiences will color their perspective as you tell them story after story about the way it was. There is nothing so grand as the wonder in a kid’s eyes, and you have the power to put it there.
You decide when the time is right
Wisdom has long been revered throughout human existence. Rather than retire and take yourself out of the picture, paint a whole new canvas. Teach, consult, share your knowledge. When the time comes and you feel you have given enough, retire. But do not let some made-up number decide for you. Each of us has our own clock, so live your life on your terms.
Retirement is a reward for giving life your all. Those you have shared with, grown with, those who came before and after, those people on the same journey, revel in each other. The love of family and friends sustains us once work is no longer viable. And ultimately, this should be enough for anyone!