I spoke with a friend who's considering ending his retirement and returning to work. After just six months. He had looked forward to slowing down, relaxing and enjoying being quiet. But lately that quiet had become uncomfortable amid the pull to be productive. Retirees, sound familiar?
According to a 2017 Rand Corp. report, "almost 40 percent of workers over 65 had previously, at some point, retired." Like chasing a rainbow and then abandoning the journey just as the first colors appear. Some return to work because of financial considerations, but others, like my friend, un-retire for social reasons: in his case, achieving the same level of fulfillment experienced while working.
Why is this happening on such a large scale? One unexplored reason is the absence of news media coverage of non-financial retirement topics, information that would benefit the thousands of baby boomers retiring each day. We instead see retirement headlines like, "Overcoming the 'I Am What I Do' Mentality," or "Making the Necessary Mental Investment in Retirement?"
Here are three actions that help me achieve fulfillment in retirement.
- Each day, make a difference. At any stage in life, it is important to strive to make a difference. Finding meaning in retirement led me to become a reading tutor at a local elementary school. It took me a while to venture into the school building, unsure whether I could make the same contribution I had at work. But I found that the kids welcomed my presence and the teachers appreciated volunteer assistance. Skills honed over the years can be used in amazing ways. We just need to overcome our reluctance to take that first step.
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