Midlife is sneaking up on
the baby boomers. Some of them will look
back on successful careers filled with
accolades and awards, while others will
proudly reflect upon raising self-sufficient
children poised to become the adults of
tomorrow. Still others will look back with
gratitude that they survived all that life
has thrown their way, and now they are
finally ready to retire.
However, these aspiring, energetic, and perpetually in motion individuals face a common dilemma as retirement age approaches: What comes next?
Over the course of long and successful careers, many baby boomers have come to define themselves by the job they do and the person they are at work. A separate identity outside of their career is often missing. Imagine you are no longer employed. What would be your response if someone asked you, “What do you do?” How do you define yourself outside of your job? Describing an exciting career is much more interesting than saying you are retired, which for busy boomers can signify a resignation, rather than a validation of a meaningful life.
Upside Thinking of starting a home-based business? Do your homework first and be sure you have the right Internet marketing tools!
In his book Boundless
Potential, Mark Walton describes a common
challenge faced by knowledge workers
contemplating retirement. Many employees now
work with their brain and are typically not
finished or physically worn out when they
reach age 65. For many people, a retirement
life of golf, travel, and relaxation is
boring, and lacks opportunities for future
growth and development. Instead of living
each day with excitement and anticipation,
these retirees may find themselves bored and
There is something to be said for taking time away from the hustle and bustle of the working world for a period of time. But when you think back on your most memorable and exciting life moments, how many of them reflect down time? It’s more likely that those high times occurred when you were running full speed ahead, striving to achieve a worthy goal, happily caught up in the moment, and doing what you loved.
Many people are happiest when absorbed in an activity they enjoy. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a professor of psychology and management at Claremont Graduate University, calls this experience flow. He found that the best moments in our lives are not passive or relaxing times, but high-skill and high-challenge moments. The greatest moments usually occur when a person is striving to accomplish something difficult or worthwhile.
No one should feel they must retire from life because of their age. Creativity continues, challenges persist, and there are many opportunities to pursue new avenues. Senior citizens have a lot to add to the world around them that will also enhance their individual life experience.