Monday, 14 November 2016
Twelve Point Plan for Retirement
While the developed World has done a lot of work to support people reaching the age of superannuation and have set up strong support systems for the elderly to help combat their loneliness, we are still in early stages of recognizing the challenges of retirement, leave alone understanding the symptoms of retirement and aging.
As I started to plan my own life post retirement, I decided to put down some of the issues that I have grappled with all my life and moving forward, I knew that I would have to address these challenges and resolve them to my own satisfaction.
Unclutter your life
You have spent the first two decades of your life studying very hard to achieve what you have today. You have led a very busy working life for over three decades and enjoyed every moment of it. Every year you have told yourself that this year is the most crucial year for you and if you get what you are hoping for, you will slow down. You have supported your family admirably.
When did you stop to think about yourself? And your spouse? Most of us have spent our lives running from airports to hotels. Have you had a chance to stop and see the sights of the city you are visiting? Or sample the specialty cuisine of the city or country? Now is the time to stop to take stock of your life. To smell the roses and breathe in the fresh air.
So much of our time is spent in criticizing friends and family. We seem to revel in the problems being faced by our near and dear ones. We love to gossip about others and we tend to get hurt by what someone may have said about us even though we may not have directly heard this.
Now is the time to cut out the negativity in our lives. Our negative thoughts is not hurting anyone else – only ourselves. You may not say positive things about another but you can definitely stop saying negative things.
Stop collecting. Start giving
In the words of Socrates, “He is nearest to God who needs the fewest things.”
You have collected and hoarded all your life. You have never given away anything. Remember that you don’t need most of what you have. Be generous. It is time to start giving away. If you have not used something for 6 months, it is highly likely that you will not use it all.
Clear your calendar
You have lived a life which has been driven by schedules, your assistant and your watch. You have not had a moment to call your own. It is time to clear up your calendar of unwanted and unnecessary activities and commitments that you have had every day of your life.
Aspire to reach a stage where you are no longer a slave to someone else’s time or dependent on when another person will be able to “fit you in”. So practice saying no to excessive demands on your time and don’t feel guilty about injecting a dose of leisure time into your daily routine.
Keep free time for yourself
How often have you thought to yourself “I wish I had more time to do things that I want to?” Your time is your own. You are the master of your time and you must never allow anyone else to determine your priorities.
Between work commitments, family commitments, social commitments and so many other commitments most of us after three decades of working look back and think of what we may have achieved had we given ourselves the time that we think we deserve.
Free time for myself is very valuable and I look forward to my time alone. Now is the time to free yourself and give yourself all the time you ever thought you needed.
Meditation and Yoga
Meditation is very therapeutic in setting the mind at peace. Sitting down to meditate will allow you to introspect on the previous day, your life, your biases, your likes and dislikes and your negative thoughts. A combination of yoga, meditation and introspection will do wonders for your mind and body and will give you a lot to look forward to every day.
Today is the time for us to restart our hobbies. Pull out your stamp and coin album to organise your collection. Pick up your camera, your favourite music instrument and start playing again – you may sound screechy and noisy but it is a matter of time before the rhythm comes back and the noise becomes music.
Play card games or chess, golf or tennis, go out sampling different cuisines and write a blog about your experiences, take in the sights of your city or visit other cities that you have wanted to. You have the earned your freedom.
As a wise man said, “You cannot be young all your life but you can certainly be immature for the rest of your life”.
You may be chronologically getting close to superannuation but mentally you don’t need to be there. Remember that age is only a number and you are only as old as you feel. Get back in touch with your real, playful self, and take every opportunity to play! Notice how it makes everything so sweet, and so simple.
Have you tried to play the numerous games available on your smartphone or you tablet? Once you get hooked to a few games you will suddenly find a new community of friends who are playing the same games as you.
“There is more to life than increasing your speed” said Mahatma Gandhi.
Slow down your breathing so that you’re aware of each inhalation and exhalation. Slowing down is also a state of your mind. If you keep fighting your own self every day, guilty that you are doing less, you will be a very unhappy person. On the other hand, if you internalise the fact that you are moving into a new phase of life and that slowing down is a part of your new paradigm, the transition will not be so painful and hard to accept.
Slow down your speech, your inner thoughts, and the frantic pace of everything you have done over the years. Take more time to hear others. Notice your inclination to interrupt and get the conversation over with, and then choose to listen instead. You will start to hear many things that you missed earlier in your conversations. You will start to see your relationships with your family and your friends in a new light. Stop to enjoy the stars on a clear night and the cloud formations on a crisp day. Sit down in a mall and just observe how everyone seems in a hurry to get nowhere.
Be Conscious of your Health
A healthy body is what you owe to yourself as you start your journey for the remaining one third of your life. Most of us have abused our bodies through our working lives and our bodies have responded admirably to all the stress and strain we have put it through. In addition, we are also probably a little overweight and we have blamed this on incessant travelling and poor eating at odd hours.
Now is the time to make the change for your body, your temple. If you are not physically fit then imagine the trouble you are planning to give to yourself in the next phase of your journey we call life.
Start counting calories and start an exercise regime.
Be free of debt
Remember that you’re attempting to simplify your life here, so you don’t need to purchase more of what will complicate and clutter your life.
If you can’t afford it, let it go until you can. You don’t need to buy something on your card and then have to face the stress of paying your credit card bill. You are far better off to have less and enjoy the days of your life than to take on debt and invite stress and anxiety where peace and tranquility could have prevailed.
Take every day as it comes
Every day is a new beginning and we must be thankful for what we have.
There’s nothing more awe inspiring than nature itself. The fantasy to return to a less tumultuous life almost always involves the thoughts of living in the splendour of the mountains, the forests or on an island; near the ocean or beside a lake. These are universal urges, since nature is created by the same Source as we are
Look at so many of your friends who did not make it as far as you have either professionally or personally or have failing health and be thankful for what you have.
The new retirement is about personal growth. It's a chance to mend fences, heal old wounds, and really get to know yourself. Since you have more time, take up writing a journal. Indulge in the luxury of going deep and understanding your life, your relationships, and your lifetime motivations.
Your time must finally belong to only to you.
The author is the founder Chairman of Guardian Pharmacies and the author of 5 best-selling books, Reboot. Reinvent. Rewire: Managing Retirement in the 21st Century; The Corner Office; An Eye for an Eye; The Buck Stops Here - Learnings of a #Startup Entrepreneur and The Buck Stops Here – My Journey from a Manager to an Entrepreneur.
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