Change and the opportunity to prosper in life and retirement


Shocked elderly man reading a document isolated on white background

Image: buso23/

Change is not always a welcome visitor. It can bring shock, pain, joy, or . . . No matter what stage of life we’re at, there will be change and the need to adapt our lives to the situations. So, what about retirement?

Think about the major life changes you’ve adapted to up to this point. Typically, the major ones are: Schooling to work. Single to married. Married with child/ren. Then there’s from work to retirement. How will you adapt to retirement?

Then, what about the changes that come during retirement?

Marcus Riley in Booming: A Life-Changing Philosophy for Ageing Well emphasises adapting to change. He talks about ‘adjusting our behaviours and attitudes where needed to ensure we are giving ourselves the best opportunity to prosper.’

The best opportunity to prosper? That’s a good way to go.

The retirement connection

Retirement is a huge change—and it brings other changes in its wake.

These changes begin as we prepare for retirement (you’re planning and working toward a new way of life); changes in retirement (you have new freedom); and there are changes in life circumstances (you’re getting older, for starters).

How will you adapt?

Unsurprisingly, it starts before retirement: Planning well. Preparing well. Picturing your new life.

Will it always work out as you plan? No! There will always be other change points. And they’ll range from things like life crises to mere changes of mind.

Being adaptable is a life requirement—at any stage. Retirement won’t change that.

Riley puts it this way, ‘Adapting. . . . is not accepting outcomes that are in fact unavoidable. It is being smart and considered as to how to best set up our lifestyles; being willing and able to alter how we do things when needed. Or, even better, after planning and forethought, before changes are needed.’

Life rarely goes to plan. Change happens. We will need to adapt.

Stretching ourselves

As I write this, Margie, my wife, is attending her water-colour class. She’s long claimed she has no artistic talent. In fact, she said her brother (a graphic designer who dabbled in painting) had inherited all the artistic genes in the family.

However, in her retirement, she wanted to try it.

At the beginning, she tentatively experimented with it. Now, two years on, it has become something of a passion. That’s change. Two of her works now hang in a prominent place in our house.

I think they’re quite good. Yes, I’m biased—I happen to like the artist (a lot).

Stretching ourselves can bring change—often good change—into our lives.

And satisfaction.

What about the serious stuff?

None of us want sickness, but it can happen. How do we adapt? Especially if it’s serious.

Riley has this advice: ‘No excuses. Even if we are suffering ill health or are incapacitated we can still find beneficial exercises to do while seated, kneeling or lying down.’


Maybe, but what’s the alternative? Just let things happen? Admit defeat? Wear it?

Riley is saying do what you can for your health. Exercise at whatever level can help you have a better functioning body.

One of my heroes is an 80-year-old woman at the local gym who does classes with people 20-30 and more years younger than her. She doesn’t have the speed, strength or flexibility of the younger ones, but that’s not why she’s there.

She’s there for her personal fitness. She’s a fit 80-year-old.

And she’s an inspiration.

Importantly, she’s doing something to help her remain healthy. She’s attacking a potential problem before it hits. There’s wisdom in what she’s doing.

Whatever change comes—good or bad—it’s worth taking the time to assess its impact and work out the best opportunity to prosper in that situation.

Bruce Manners: the author of Retirement Ready?, Refusing to Retire, and founder of

Category: Attitude, Lifestyle, Planning

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