"It takes a long time to grow young." This quote is attributed to Pablo Picasso.
Funny. You usually think of growing old. What does it mean to grow young? If rather than approaching 50, 60, 70 or 80 - as you feel yourself rapidly doing - you view yourself as going backwards and approaching your 30s, 20s, teens and childhood, what would be different about you? Who would you be and what would you do?
What do children see when they step out the door. What is common amongst four to seven year olds? If you can imagine growing younger and not take this literally, i.e. you won't get smaller and loose youer front teeth, what might be different about your world view?
Life was full of new things and challenges when you were young. You didn't know what was down the road. There were choices ahead of you and endless posssibilities. How exciting. Well, there still are. Retirement is your time to recapture that excitement.I retired recently in my late 50's. I worked full time from when I graduated high school at age 16. I'd had enough of the world of work and thought I was ready. My job was stressful and no longer held the excitement and feelings of acheivment and gratification it once did. Performing an analysis of rewards and benefits versus the long term impact of accumulated every day crisis, stressors, and negative impacts upon my body and spirit, it was clear to me it was not worth it any longer. The support was not there, neither was respect for the position or the recognition of the value added as a senior, experienced professional. I was treated the same as persons in the job a year or so. In a high burnout field, I had flared and sizzled. You know it when it happens and it is painful.
I left sooner than I anticpated and wasn't prepared with a plan, my first mistake. One of the first things I learned is you need to have a schedule and a routine, or you may find yourself just kind of fading away; sleeping later in the morning and loosing your bearings. Tasks will expand to fill the time availabe, so I highly suggest using a calendar and scheduling your activites in advance, to avoid going off on tangents, getting distracted, napping, oversleeping and or spinning your wheels. Make sure you keep up with your social contacts. Have lunch with your friends at least once a month if not more often and engage in social networks. Keep setting goals.
Don't let your brain retire, stimulate it by participating in new activitties and learning. It will help build new brain cells and just may keep you from developing Alzheimers or another form of dementia and prevent depression. Keep up with the world, news and technology so you can communicate with and understand your young relatives and maintain those connections. Nothing will chase them away quicker than you becoming an ancient artifact they can't relate to or understand.
Give back. Volunteer and feel good about connecting with others and helping those who need you. You have a lifetime of experience that others will benefit from. And you have a heart and loving arms to warm and wrap around those who need the gift of compassion, care and touch. You have potential to make a profound and lasting gift upon the universe by sharing yourself. What a legacy you have to give.
Write your life history. Years from now young people will not now how you lived, what you did or wore and how you communicated if you don't record it now. It's not boring. Think of the grand old classics you've read and been fascinated with.
Retirement will open new doors and bless your life with opportunities you never thought of. Start preparing now and think about what you might want to do and experience in your new life. It's time to be a child again and try new things, fail, laugh, grow and share. Be even more yourself and leave a piece of you behind.
Enjoy the best years of your life. Good luck.