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10 Great Things About Retirement that You Should Never Forget

By Stephanie Cunningham August 01, 2019 Mindset

Retirement can be many things – some good, some bad – but it can also be quite confusing to navigate. And in many ways, it resembles the teenage years – remember those? A scary thought!

In the teenage years, we were scrambling to find out who we are, what we wanted to do with our life, and how we fit in with society. Many of us feel the same way in retirement as we leave lifelong careers and lose intimate partners and friends.

It may feel that the world has become very strange and cold. We are not teenagers anymore, but individuals with lots of life experience to take on these new challenges.

So how does age provide the bedrock to re-establish yourself during retirement?

Your Confidence Grows

We have innate confidence from having years of experience. Remembering our teenage years, back then we spent a lot of time in uncertainty how to act in new situations, how to make friends as we matured, and how to explore and find our path.

Although we have many of the same tasks, our experience tells us that we our capable of finding our way.

You Grow Comfortable in Your Own Skin

We are less concerned about following fashion in any arena. We aren’t concerned about being trendy but rather have and continue to develop our own style. For many of us, emphasizing our uniqueness is more important than the latest trend. We have left behind that teenage angst.

You Gain Freedom from Responsibilities

It is liberating to not be responsible for others, for meeting deadlines, and for achieving someone else’s goals. This is a time when we can explore our own desires. We can find those activities that we have always wanted to do or discover new ones.

You Can Explore Your Creativity

Contrary to popular belief, creativity does not decrease with age. Artists in their 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s are producing fresh, exciting art. And in our retirement, we have the time to learn those forms of art we have always found fascinating. Being creative is very satisfying.

You Discover True Compassion

Life includes inevitable ups and downs. By the age of 60, we have all found our unique path through the difficulties. When new challenges arise, these past experiences generate compassion for ourselves and for others.

You Can Finally Choose Your Friends

I have one friend with whom we often do not talk for months. When we get together, though, it feels like there was no time lapse in communication.

Others have maintained friendships since school days and continue to nourish and grow those relationships. Those long-time friends are the people who know us and accept us. It takes very little effort to maintain the friendship because of this deep level of knowing.

You Have Fewer Time Restraints

When you’re retired, you usually have the time to:

  • do something unexpected,
  • travel,
  • try a new hobby, or
  • explore new interests.

We are past the point in our lives when we couldn’t do things because we didn’t have the time to squeeze them in our busy schedules. Now we can enjoy the unexpected.

You Can Prioritise Yourself

Over the past 10 years, I learned to decline participation in projects that don’t interest me. I am streamlining my life to clarify exactly where I want to devote my time and resources.

You Learn About True Kindness

I thought intelligence and efficiency were very important when I was young. As I have grown older, I have elevated kindness as the most important quality.

I believe taking time for basic manners, asking people if you can be of help, looking out for others, and most important, having compassion and empathy for those on a different path is much more helpful.

You Become More Authentic

The previous nine points guide us to leading our most authentic life. Our authentic retirement consists of:

  • our confidence in who we are,
  • our experiences,
  • our wins and losses,
  • freedom to explore our long-held or new desires,
  • our chosen companions,
  • curating our life to include only those activities and people we want in our retirement,
  • practicing kindness.

All bring clarity and purpose to retirement.

This list is my interpretation of the 10 great things about retirement. What would you add or subtract? Have you created your authentic retirement? If so, how? Please share with our community!

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The Author

After taking early retirement as a policy officer, Stephanie Cunningham moved to Australia and earned general and specialized certifications to teach senior yoga. She taught classes for 10 years, then started a podcast about changing the perception of yoga.

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