No matter who you are or what you do and whatever level, your days in active work life are numbered. Unfortunately, this being a reality is often neglected until it becomes evident. I’ve seen people struggle and sad in retirement when the opposite should be the case. I keep wondering what the major factors could be. In my informal interviews with such, I can tell that holding on to so many irrelevancies is a curse in retirement.
Whether your retirement was imposed or voluntary, what you become as well as what comes to you at retirement will be your making. To my mind, retirement, being the last episode of man’s adventure on mother earth should be the most fulfilling part of the life cycle as it offers the last opportunity to re-live life all over. In other words, if life till retirement had been below expectation, retirement is to ensure that the expectations are met and surpassed and if life till retirement had been extremely rewarding, truth is that there will always be better after good and subsequently, best. Stretching further, there would always be better-best after the best possible, until kingdom comes.
Retirement is the period to aspire to end well, for that is the memory to be left behind. I will strongly implore that you leave behind, fun filled memories of you to be cherished into eternity. It suffices to state categorically that quantum of money accumulated or not has very little to do in a fulfilling retirement but the choice of lifestyle. What do I mean by choice of lifestyle?
THE DOUBLE F ‘FORGIVE AND FORGET’: As we journey through life, we interact with people of varied backgrounds, culture and psychological make-up. In the process of relating with one another, we are bound to be offended just as we too will sure offend others. You will not only live well in retirement but also live long if you practice the principle of ‘forgive and forget.’ A boss might at a time have trampled upon your rights or even unjustifiably sacked you. May be you thought you ought to have grown bigger in the management cadre but was hindered. Here you are, the best you can do for yourself is forgive and forget. This is so because recovery and speedy movement ahead will be hampered for as long as your emotions are still attached to the low points. Break off from such limiting emotions, build a new mind, develop superior habits, relate well and enjoy the rest of your life.
Carrying pains into your retirement will invariably lead to early grave and leaving behind, the bitter taste of sadness to be inherited in the process, by your supposed loved ones in varying degrees of closeness. One or more of your bosses of years past would definitely have offended you. Whether they are dead or alive, whether you are still in contact with them or not, forgive all and also forget. Was a wicked boss or a colleague responsible for your stunted growth in employment and possibly early retirement? The period of your retirement is the best time to forgive all as failure to forgive and most probably forget is much more and severely painful at retirement than even the time of the event because you have longer hours to ruminate over events of the past now that you are retired than at any other period of life. Forgive and forget. Should you fail to forgive and forget, you will be touchy without knowing, at that? You lose face with even your grand children. If you fail to forgive all during your retirement period, you will nag and complain of virtually everything anyone around you says or does because you will read meanings to every comments and actions by comparing such- comments or actions with what one fellow said of did in years past. Guess what? You will vent the incubated anger arising from lack of forgiveness on everyone around you. You will be re-christened and wished to die early so that people can rest.
Have you ever related with an elderly fellow who is extremely suspicious? Well established in the emotions of such are all past offences against him or her, abuses and disappointments among others. Until you learn to forgive and forget, you will read meanings to every move and statements of another to you. at that, you lose relationships, you become lonely and in the process, digging an early grave for yourself. Please forgive and forget.
- THE CHOICE TO BE HAPPY: Happiness is a choice and so is sadness. You can and should choose to be happy, not once in a while but always.
Happiness in retirement is a necessity and not an option. Have you been sad all through your life for whatever reason? Let the period of retirement be filled with happiness and gladness from within you. Happiness is a life-elongating tool, depression is an early killer. What are you to be happy for? For the sunny days with the hot or wet weather conditions. If you can sweat and would need perhaps an air conditional or a fan to cool yourself, please be happy. Be happy for the gift of life and for little achievements here and there. Be happy for what you thought God did well enough or what you desired that he- God never did. Guess what? I perceive very strongly that going to meet with the creator in an unhappy mood might spell doom, so be happy. Happiness is contagious I believe. I’m sure you will think differently if you know that your nature and mood are easily transferred unnoticed through the air, to the immediate environment and easily catchable by the young because of their hyper-sensitive nature. Don’t sell sadness to your grand children, inlaws and others looking up unto you. Choose to be happy in retirement.
Please ensure that whoever comes near you becomes happy at the time they will be leaving no matter how sad they were when they came. If this becomes your lifestyle, you will never be lonely.
- THANKFULNESS: Thankfulness is the habit of a deep thinker. It is commonly said that if you know how to think, you will know how to thank.
Thankfulness in retirement will attract people to you as much as happiness will; being grateful to the creator and humans generally can only propel more of same. Take the time to appreciate your kids in whatever situations they might find themselves. Appreciate them for the little and much they are able to offer instead of claiming rights as a parent. Appreciate your neighbors and friends who will always come around to keep you company. Make pleasant comments about them. Be thankful to the creator.
- SPIRITUALITY IS A MUST: Man is primarily a spirit with a soul that dwells in a body. As you age, your body becomes weak. It is not your making, it is just nature and really, there is nothing you can do that hence, to compensate for the diminishing body, develop your spirit. At that, the strong spirit will power the weak body to become strong.
Besides, there is a hollow in man to relate with God, spend your retirement to fill this hollow. Retirement is the period to be devoted to spiritual discoveries and become committed for the availability of time.
Parenting is an unending adventure. Your kids might not need your money or even your contacts, becoming the intercessor for them by virtue of your spiritual development will lift them in life. Your grand children sure need your prayer support.
- BE BUSY BUT NOT A BUSY BODY: I know a retiree who was so free and less busy that he would poke nose on every affairs even when he was not invited. What is the business of a male retiree when two younger women had minor arguments? Guess what? The old man ended being called a ‘useless’ man from a highly revered position he was while in active service. Get yourself busy in retirement; fill your brain with wisdom. Empower yourself to continue to impact even at an old age.
Unless you are precise as per how you want to live in retirement and you work at achieving this, you are bound to become confused few years into retirement no matter how well you saw it ahead. Please note, you don’t need to be over busy in retirement like you were while in active employment. Being busy is a form of keeping your brain and body active to avoid rustiness. How do you get this done? Very simple. What have you always desired to do that the workload and schedule while in active employment never allowed? Can you do those things now? If not, why not? Write the reasons down as you also note them. What are these activities?
This discussion continues next week. God bless you.