How do we empower retirement? Or maybe it is better said, how do we find ways to empower ourselves when retired to stay focused and energetic while contributing to the welfare of others as well as to society in general? When we are able to answer that question we not only will enjoy our retirement years more, but will find that we are just beginning to live.
All of our years of experience have provided us with the skills and knowledge to create a very special way for others to learn and take advantage of what we know to advance their lives and careers. Let’s discuss a few ways where we can empower our retirement so that we begin to feel the satisfaction which comes with lending a helping hand where it is most needed.
Providing Solutions in a Creative Way
All too often we underestimate the value of what we know from our years of employment, running businesses, travel, raising children, and all the other life experiences which we gather along the way. We take a lot for granted, and don’t realize that we can use what we know to help others while creating additional income and satisfaction for ourselves.
I’d like to break down a few specific ways to share what we know in a meaningful way. Of course, there are many volunteer opportunities available in which folks can get involved. This can be quite a fulfilling experience. Just spending time with others allows us to both share and learn from each other. Churches and non-profit agencies are places to investigate. You can also find overseas opportunities along these lines.
For those who enjoy speaking, creating your own YouTube Channel is an excellent way to share valuable information. Others who enjoy writing, will find writing a Blog in your specific area of expertise a most rewarding experience. These are ways of not only helping others find solutions to their challenges, but also ways to monetize your efforts and earn an additional income if you so desire. You can also write a novel, how-to guide, your memoirs, or even a cookbook.
If you are interested in Public Service you can get on a local school board or become a member of various local political groups.
One of the most rewarding activities I have found over the years on both a professional and volunteer basis, is to be a Mentor to young kids. You can do this through Big Brothers or Big Sisters, or establish yourself in business as a life coach. There is an enormous need among the young for good role models. I am very grateful and honored to have worked with kids with special needs, where I have been able to plant a few seeds here and there, but also learn as much or more from them about my strengths and weaknesses as a person. We are all teachers and students of life.
It is never too late to go back to School for anyone who wants to learn a new profession and contribute in a different way. Whether it is taking classes of interest or getting a more formal degree, it is only a decision away. Also, many universities and schools offer discounts to retirees.
It is just a matter of spending some quiet time and discovering what it is that would bring you joy, and using that in a creative way and to extend it to others. This is too important to let any fear or uncertainty get in our way. Any illusionary roadblocks can be handled in one way or another. We must never forget that we are in charge of our thoughts and feelings and their results, even though it may not seem so at times.
Some Other Ideas to Empower Retirement
For some there is no need or interest to get involved in any type of formal activities, since we have already contributed so much over our lifetimes. That is a valid choice for many. The key here is to make that choice consciously and not by default, in order to ensure ourselves that what we are doing brings us fulfillment, happiness, and joy. Choosing to do nothing at all can be fulfilling as well, as it is most important only to do what inspires us.
Hanging out with friends on a daily or weekly basis can be most fulfilling whether it is playing cards, tennis, swimming, golf, or getting to know other retirees in the area. The specific activity doesn’t matter.
Exploring your roots by Traveling to different places to visit family, we can learn more about our heritage and ancestors. We can discover relatives we never knew we had in some cases. Even Babysitting for family and friends can be an enjoyable experience.
One activity which I enjoy and find time during the day no matter how hectic my schedule is Reading. You can even add a social element to this by going a meetup group or book club. In fact, I enjoy reading much more than watching videos when I an researching new topics of interest.
Learning a new Language can serve you well should you choose to travel about to other areas of the world. Also, learning to play a Musical Instrument can be a very fulfilling experience.
For those interested in an active lifestyle joining a Fitness Group where each member keeps each other accountable can serve a number of purposes. In addition to being a social and fun event, before you know it you may be in the best shape of your entire life. Even taking up a New Sport is an option. There are people in their nineties and even hundreds who are competing in track and field races for seniors. I even heard of one woman who competed in the pole vault in her eighties.
Going along with this line of thinking there are many Hobbies in which to get involved such as painting, photography, gardening, hiking, fishing etc. It’s just a matter of doing what the American author and professor, Joseph Campbell, espoused through his writings and talks about “following your bliss”.
It’s Only a Decision Away
Finding ways to empower retirement is only a decision away. We just need to ask ourselves what is our First Step to get us going. It may be just to get online and google a few topics of interest, or speak to family and friends about some of our passions and ideas.
It so important not to shortchange what will make us happy and fulfilled. We deserve the best of every moment which we experience. Any boredom or indecision can be overcome by just getting started in a new direction, and then allowing things to play out as they may, while we make other decisions along the way.
There is no magical formula other than staying fully engaged in life. We owe this to ourselves and others.
When a person first retires, or is even contemplating to do so, there is certainly an element of uncertainty about how to utilize the increased control which we now have over our lives, and exactly how to spend our time. One thing which I have mentioned in other articles on this blog is to live within your means by sticking to a budget. Many experience reduced income levels while now living on pensions and social security. Make sure to do your research as to withdrawal rates on your retirement accounts as well as tax consequences.
In an earlier post called Baby Boomer Emergency Retirement Plan I go over some ideas on how to handle some of the challenges of retirement.
A Few Options
Now that you have the time you can travel throughout the world on extended vacations. What may happen is that you may decide to move to another country to live on a permanent basis. This is definitely a way to cut the cost of living by picking a country which offers a lot at a reduced cost. Also, there are always ways to a make a few extra bucks no matter where you are.
Another way to get around and see the country on a budget is to purchase a new or used Motor Home. Some folks have been doing this for years.
If you can think of nothing else to do you can spend some time on Home Improvements and even remodel your entire home. This works well if you are a hands-on on sort of person, even if you have to learn a few extra skills to get things done.
There are different ways to Downsize your current living arrangements. You can either move to the city or the country. The city is good for folks who want all the necessities within a few blocks. You get to have access to lots of arts and culture nearby. The other way is to go to a smaller community which has less traffic and noise, while usually being less expensive than city life. I have friends who left a large metropolitan area here in the USA, and moved to a small community in Belize where they now run an organic farm and enjoy a slower pace of life. They told me this was the best decision of their lives.
I can go on and on with various examples of ways to get creative in our retirement years. If you have any specific questions just either comment on this post or send me an email through the “Contact Page” on this site.
Let’s Sum Things Up
All in all, retirement is meant to be a pleasant experience no matter when we choose to retire. On the other hand, “when we love what we do why retire at all?” The key point being is to find things to do either on a paid or non paid basis which bring enjoyment into our lives.
Life is precious and short and needs to be enjoyed and appreciated. I have so much gratitude for all the wonderful people in my life both past and present. Life is a continuous process of adding value to the lives of ourselves and others. That never stops. People are in our lives for a reason. There are no coincidences.
That being said, let’s all empower retirement whether we are retired or not. We can most definitely empower ourselves on a daily basis to choose to do what we most enjoy, and to add happiness to the lives of others by serving them in the best way we can. There are no ordinary moments. Each moment is significant.
There are tons of dos and don’ts about how to keep active and healthy and engaged in our later years. Some of this stuff is helpful, while for some it is too structured and the last thing we want after retiring is a set schedule. Getting back to my reference of Joseph Campbell earlier in this article, we will find that when we “follow our bliss” things naturally fall into place. Being in alignment with our innermost desires and passions will lead us effortlessly wherever we choose to go.
I look forward that this has stimulated some thought about life in general no matter your age. Being connected to who we really are is critical to living a fulfilled life. So whether we are twenty (20) or one hundred (100) years old, we can Empower Retirement by being true to ourselves and living life to the fullest.
May All your Dreams come True,
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