Couple finding retirement joy

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Are You Creating A Happy Retirement for Yourself?

My friend Pam recently sent me an article by Poul-Erik Tindbaek. The topic is well-being in later life.  In his article, Tindbaek discusses four factors that contribute to happiness in this life stage that he calls the third stage. His statements provide a good guide for a happy post 60 life. Consequently, I’d like to share his suggestions and urge you to read his full article. 

Tindbaek notes that transition from a long working life to retirement may be the most difficult change in adulthood. In order to counter some of those difficulties, he recommends the following four actions as you work toward creating a happy retirement.

1. Understand That 60+ Is a New Beginning

Thirty years ago, English historian Peter Laslett described 60+ as a time when individuals can deliver important contributions. With an average life expectancy of 80, these years provide a new phase of life that requires new purposes.

To accomplish this, Tindbaek recommends that we allow ourselves time to discover what purpose will best provide for well-being in later life and help you in creating a happy retirement.

2. Keep Healthy for More Good Years

For a good life in the third age of 60+, you’ll want to keep physically and mentally healthy as long as possible. Our efforts toward that goal helps minimize fragility in later years. 

True, it’s not easy to change health habits, but it’s worth the effort. Think of Steve Jobs’ statement after his cancer diagnosis that “Death is the change agent of life”? Could that be an impetus for you? You, too, can change something in your life style if need be.

Another action that helps us stay healthy is frequent contact with other human beings. Several years ago, the fitness chains noted that the morning hours were close to sold out to people 60+. They were in the training rooms, but also around the coffee machines. Perhaps coffee talk is just as important for health in the third age as an hour in the fitness room. Although it’s important to strengthen our bodies, it’s equally crucial to work on mental health habits.  Good social relationships promote a positive view of life and healthy brain challenges.

3. Do Something You’re Good at and is Meaningful to You

Some people in their third age have already found their passion and are in full swing with a hobby. Perhaps it’s gardening, sowing or something totally surprising such as building your own car.

You may know exactly what you want to do with your new-found freedom. However, you may be wondering how to maintain interaction with others or looking for something in retirement you enjoy doing. If that is the case, you might try this exercise:

Spend a day asking yourself: What you did when you were the best. 

Think about your whole life and list 10 situations where you’ve been really good. It may be from school, work, hobbies or family — wherever you were completely happy.

Then look a bit closer at four or five of your listed memories, where you were most involved and engaged. Determine in  more detail why they worked so well.

Your answers will be key factors in determining what you would like to transfer to life in this third age.

4. Do Something Good For Others

Research shows that satisfaction is best achieved when we use our experiences to provide value for others. So, when you think about it, doing good for others is good for ourselves.  Seems like a win-win to me!

Looking for More Retirement Information?

If you’d like to read more about life in retirement, check out my friend’s site. She has collected and shared multiple articles on planning for a meaningful third life stage that you may find helpful. 

You also might enjoy another post in “Survive” on  valuing friends.