Friday, July 12, 2013

The "R" Word


What is your gut reaction to being referred to as retired? If you’re similar to most Baby Boomers, you resist this label. Some people are even offended by the term and quick to correct our perception of their status, using titles such as rewired and repotted.

Why the strong response to a simple word? A dictionary search for the meaning of “retired” explains:

Discharged. Elderly. Aged. Old. Pensioned off. Give up work. Step down. Be put out to pasture.

Sounds like everything we’ve been working for, right?


If these words describe retirement, then it’s no wonder we need a new way to think of this next stage of life. Who wants to be grouped with a bunch of old, aged, discharged individuals? Instead, we need a new perspective on retirement—a fresh perspective.

Retired. Refreshed. 

I like to think of retirement as hitting the “refresh” button on a webpage. By refreshing the page, the information is more current. Old news no longer appears on the page. We’re not making decisions based on outdated information or way of thinking.

Even so, when I refresh a webpage, not everything changes. In fact, very often the differences are subtle. The same is true for designing a happy retirement lifestyle. Research suggests that people experience a greater sense of well being when there is continuity in their lives. Refreshing doesn’t take us to a different website, it simply represents the current status and information that we have to work with.

When you think of your life as a webpage, 
how does it look different once retirement refreshes the page? 

Have fun with this question. Take out a piece of paper and draw a webpage that represents your life before retirement. Then refresh the page by taking out another piece of paper and drawing a webpage that represents your current or future state. What changes? Do you have new categories that didn’t appear before retirement? Are some areas more or less important than they were before refreshing the page?

This is a great time to think about what you want to have more of in our life. When I did this exercise, a place for employment was still on my page, but it was more creative, in my own colors, with my name on it. It’s a refreshed version of how I want to work at this stage of life.

Try it for yourself and remember to “refresh” periodically. 

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