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I’m a 54-year-old man and my plan to retire at 50 didn’t happen. I’m still plugging away, working hard and see no retirement option in my foreseeable future. I find myself getting down about life and what’s in store, when I used to be filled with so much hope (and energy). Thoughts?
You’re not alone in feeling this way, as many baby boomers and gen-Xers have transitioned into post-retirement jobs to sustain their lifestyle. When we’re surrounded by negative talk, we tend to develop a doom and gloom attitude to life, so be cautious about who you spend time with.
What’s interesting is for others in a similar phase of life, people are retiring and losing their sense of purpose and connection to community. I invite you to expand your perspective to consider that while you didn’t meet your target, you do still have a career and the resources to invest in your future.
I understand that you set a goal for yourself and you didn’t achieve it, which sounds like it’s causing much internal discord. When people set such goals in the past, like the famous Freedom 55, life expectancy was around 70. Now, it is said the average North American man lives to be 80 and women 84. As a culture, we could stand to update our expectations to match our new normal.
There is an incredible book that I recommend in most of my workshops called Who Moved My Cheese by Dr. Spencer Johnson. It directly speaks to the challenge of evolving with the trends and “finding new cheese.” Many Fortune 500 companies require their executives to read this book to help them deal with constant change and develop their resilience muscle. This might help you to readjust your vision and manage your expectations.
If it helps, I’m soon to be 66 years old. I have retired from my 35-year teaching career and I am 10 years into my second calling as therapist and entrepreneur. Yes, I get tired but I love what I do so it doesn’t drain me. You may want to consider a pivot in your work life so that there’s less dread and more joy. As the saying goes “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”
Finally, many people slide into senior life without a nest egg of savings. If you haven’t already, get yourself into an investment institution and set up a retirement fund so that you have something to work toward. Good luck.
Funny timing, I just found my career and financial intentions for 2014 and I literally laughed out loud because I am so far from my desired outcome. Indeed, the voice of my crazy, driven ego wants to call myself out as a failure, but thankfully I’ve learned to listen more closely to the voice of wisdom, which has a more compassionate perspective.
The reality is, I may have been a touch idealistic in my goal setting. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great and fun to dream big, which I’m an expert at, but it can also set us up for devastating feelings of disappointment when the goal date comes and goes and we’re nowhere near the finish line.
So, my question to you is, was retirement at 50 a realistic goal for you? If it wasn’t, forgive yourself for setting yourself up to feel let down (is it a pattern?). Now you can sit down and set new goals and intentions that are more realistic but still light you up. This way, you’ll be setting yourself up to be a champion, not a loser, which, I know from experience, feels way better!
As I reflect on my state of mind when I set those goals for myself, I realize my priorities changed over the years. I didn’t actually want to spend 14-16-hour days on my business, I wanted to spend more time with my family, which is what I did. Yes, I failed to reach my lofty financial goals, but I did invest time into the most precious gift I have ever been given: my loved ones.
What about you? By not succeeding at your retirement goal, might you expand your perspective to see that you achieved other goals in the process? In our culture, we tend to over-emphasize money and we could stand to acknowledge investing in family life is one of the greatest commitments we’ll ever make.
So here’s my advice moving forward: life is as abundant as we believe it to be, so expand your perspective of what’s possible for your life, even as you age. Although our hormones decline and our energy wains as we age, our lived experience and the knowledge gleaned from it is priceless, so continue to affirm your value as you ripen.
And finally, now is the time to invest in your health. Adjust your schedule to create a happy work-life balance, exercise daily and inject play into your life starting today!