Our concept of retirement is undergoing a metamorphosis. Demographic, societal, and workplace trends have all converged to offer a stage of life—at mid-life and beyond—that is much more fluid and flexible than we previously thought possible. When planning for retirement, we are discovering that the “old rules” have been thrown out and that “no rules” apply.
In other words, our retirement experience has become a matter of personal definition! Because of increasing longevity and more active lifestyles, many individuals are viewing this time in life as an opportunity to explore their potential. Instead of “not working,” retirement has come to mean emancipation, the freedom to choose the activities and pursuits they find the most satisfying and rewarding.
For example, many of those who embrace the “no rules” concept will actually experience multiple “retirements”—moving from one endeavor to another in the second half of life. Some will choose career sabbaticals to pursue new learning, personal renewal, and/or volunteer service. Others will stay within their career paths, but find renewed enthusiasm by taking on new assignments or by adopting a new work life option such as part-time, free-agency, or telecommuting.
As you think about your life in the future, your skills, interests, values, and preferences should be given thoughtful consideration. These items should be considered your assets—a set of characteristics that define who you are as an individual and influence the life choices you make. Combining the information of “who I am” and “what I want” will help you to form your unique definition of “quality of life” now and in the future.
Most importantly, designing your “no rules” retirement is all about identifying, pursuing, and living in sync with your personal values and priorities. In fact, the greater your understanding of what is important to you, the easier it will be to “paint a picture” in your mind of what you are working toward.
Do you have a clear vision of what you want to do in your retirement years? The more you know about what you really want to experience, the more successful your transition will be.
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