Unless you want to be miserable, that is.
Stop and think for a minute about people you know who are retired. They may be your relatives or they may be your friends.
Which are the ones that seem the most energetic, the most fulfilled?
Are they the ones who willingly tucked into a retirement community, where they are cut off from all other age groups?
The ones who just go fishing, or just go golfing?
Likely not. They are the ones who are still engaged in life, who are involved in helping other people, whether it be their kids, grandkids, or local community.
We are fed during our working years by helping others and having purpose. It doesn’t mean everyday is relaxing and stress-free.
It means you are working for something bigger than just you. Raising and providing for a family. Challenging yourself intellectually and physically. Growing in your faith. These things keep you sharp and keep you growing. Developing friendships that will last you for the rest of your life and that enrich you.
Why would you stop any of that just because you retire?
Even if you have physical ailments when you are older, you can still touch the people around you and be a source of encouragement and advice for them.
I volunteer as a conversation companion for seniors, and one of the women I have met is almost 95. She is unable to walk or move much, and lives in assisted living.
Yet every time I visit her or call her, she is upbeat and happy to hear from me. The funny thing? She usually has people visiting her when I am visiting or calling her, because she has shown herself to be such a source of inspiration!
So, even at the age of 95, yes, we can be this.
I suspect retirement is going to look very differently than it did for the Greatest Generation and the Silent Generation.
And I think that’s a good thing.
The consistent element that likely won’t change regarding what we find attractive about retirement?
Choosing when to work and for how long. That, indeed, is an option that is worth working for.