Originally posted at New Haven Register , by Alan P. Weiss.
Mitch Anthony, author of the “The New Retirementality,” was asked by a friend if he planned to retire early. Anthony thought about it for a moment, and then it dawned on him: “I like what I do. Why would I quit doing that?”
This is a topic on the minds of many people today. Many of those who heard Anthony speak at a recent event in Woodbridge experienced a sudden shift in how they were thinking about their own retirement.
“Anthony’s presentation was thought-provoking,” said one member of the audience at the Jewish Community Center. “It changed the way I thought about my work expectancy and my life. I had envisioned retiring at age 65, to start the things that ‘I love to do.’ However, he emphasized that I should be incorporating them into my life now … that these years are not a dress rehearsal. I now regard the idea of retirement as an antiquated notion, with little benefit and potential harm. It seems much more beneficial to continue to work at a job that I love, to continue to be productive and challenge my mind, as long as I am mentally and physically able.”
Anthony says we need to think more holistically. Remember that the word “retire” means “to withdraw.” If there are aspects of work inducing more stress than satisfaction, a highly bureaucratic environment or disingenuous supervisors, some withdrawal may be prescribed. If you think of withdrawal in a compartmental sense, your opinion of withdrawing completely from the workplace will probably be transformed.
“You may want to withdraw from a monomaniacal boss, but do you want to withdraw from meaningful connections you make at work?” Anthony asks. “You may want to withdraw from a grinding commute, but do you want to withdraw your intellect from the creative stimulation it receives when you develop solutions to complex problems?”
“Don’t think about retiring from something but instead to something. Successful aging is important because successful retirees focus on growing and wellbeing. Failed retirees just take what comes,” he adds.
Think back over your life; what accomplishments have given you the greatest intrinsic rewards? Why?
Studies have confirmed that goals based on intrinsic aspirations (such as helping others, learning, and personal growth) are more likely to lead to a sense of happiness and wellbeing than goals based on extrinsic reward (such as wealth or fame).
What activities and endeavors (paid or unpaid) currently make you feel good?
What activities or endeavors (paid or unpaid) currently give your life a sense of meaning and purpose?
Thinking ahead, what are some of the things you would like to accomplish in the future? Disregard the possibility of any obstacles — feel free to dream.
Retirement shouldn’t mean withdrawing from life.