In her book The Artist’s Way for Retirement, Julia Cameron lists what she calls the common problems facing the newly retired. Her list is broad-ranging. It includes: ‘too much time, lack of structure, a sense that our physical surroundings suddenly appear outdated, excitement about the future coupled with a palpable fear of the unknown.’
You can probably guess that I have a lot of information about retirement flowing into my inbox. On purpose. I’m keen to find out what the latest thinking is. Over the past week, two stories have come in on the theme of happiness. The first tells me how to be a happy Boomer, and the second how to have a happy retirement.
Many of us have heard stories of ‘little old ladies’ who call cruise ships their home. Or read the joke that’s sent (and resent) about the ‘benefits’ of retirement living on a cruise ship. However, where and how we live in retirement isn’t a frivolous matter, and most people can only dream of cruising full time.
At 73 years of age, Ingrid Pich brings a lively presence into a room—any room. We meet in a kitchen/lounge in the complex where she’s just finished conducting an exercise class. She tells me later she’s a ‘high-energy person’. That’s obvious from the start.
Two stories tell of different approaches to retirement. In this podcast we talk about Brenda who refuses to retire and Anne who retired and has become busy volunteering. What will your retirement look like?
In their book, Refire! Don’t Retire, Ken Blanchard (best known for his books about management—including The One Minute Manager) and Morton Shaevitz define ‘refiring’ as: ‘Adopting an attitude of embracing the years ahead with enthusiasm rather than apathy.’
In their book, Ikigai, Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles reveal that the Japanese don’t have a word for ‘leaving the workforce for good’ (retirement). In fact, ‘having a purpose for life is so important in Japanese culture that our idea of retirement simply doesn’t exist.’
Nicky Shelton retired early—at the age of 53—because she wanted to and could. ‘But I hadn’t thought about what I was going to do next,’ she says. ‘I didn’t have a clue.’ That was three-and-a-half years ago. In that time, she has been developing as an artist.
‘People who work very hard need to start building up other interests to make their retirement work.’ That’s the advice from Professor Gordian Fulde.
We have a dilemma. I write this sitting in our caravan in a caravan park in Merimbula, NSW. The dilemma isn’t Merimbula. We’ve been frequent holiday makers here. It’s a delightful spot on the far south coast of New South Wales. It’s also a major retirement town—a lot of retirees live here. Our dilemma is: do we keep the caravan?