"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” Maya Angelou
When golfing with a wise older friend of ours, we were given an insight into what is essential about the transition to retirement life. By the way, the reason we are so interested in the retirement stage of life is because we feel that it addresses one of the more important questions that we should be asking at any stage of life: How do I want to spend my time?
Back to the wisdom! The key he said, were the 4 S’s. Ironically, in Neil Pastiche’s “The 4 S’s of Meaningful Work” he argues that we should not retire but just make work more fun. Definitely make it more fun, but the real key here is to apply the 4 S’s to your time in general.
Social: The social aspect of life is an important one that we all need. The social part of work is usually what makes it enjoyable and whether that is with colleagues or customers, it can be a big hole to fill once you stop. Of course social activity usually happens outside of work with our friends and this continues with retirement, the point is that you will also probably have more time alone. Finding a balance between the two are important and maybe some of your new interests can be social activities that fill the loneliness gap. At the same time, don’t fear being on your own, use that time to dive deeper into exploring the self.
Structure: The work place has given most of us an automatic structure. If you stop work one day, all of the sudden your schedule just opens up completely. Total freedom right? Maybe you can sleep in a bit longer, or do something totally spontaneous. Those are both great ideas, but we suggest that some aspects of your day offer a little bit of structure. Morning time is usually the trickiest as you no longer have to go to work. Maybe its a trip to the gym that replaces the workplace. Aside from scheduling activities, we suggest you find a routine that works for you, but feel free to be flexible and do what ever you want. You earned it.
Stimulation: Retirement without activity can feel a little bit lost. We need to be learning something new, or polishing up on our skills because work usually inherently provided challenge for us. Stimulation can come in many forms, but the key is to keep the brain active. Aside from many universities offering free courses for people, the internet is full of educational tools and and holds an endless amount of opportunities to learn. Try Udemy, or Coursera for free classes that cover many of your interests. This is a period of your life where you have time to do the activities that your previously put off due to lack of it.
Story: The stories we tell ourselves, about ourselves, about our lives are important. Usually these stories are largely intertwined with our careers and all of a sudden that changes. You have to shift your story towards a different meaning. This can be challenging but largely, it is about how your priorities shift and what is important to you. Family, friends, or your new interests, they can all be part of you new story. In Okinawa Japan, a city where they often have a lot of centennials, they have no word for retirement because they always find a way to be of service to their community. Their story is driven by connection.
Life doesn’t end because you stop working. The best part is that you now have more time do whatever you want. People have a tough time with the transition because they enjoyed their work, and need to stay busy. Most people pick up an odd job just to keep doing something. Whatever it is that you decide to do, take into consideration how you can apply the 4 S’s to your new life.
And continue to pose this question to yourself: how do I want to spend my time?
Enjoy it, no matter what stage you are in.
Let’s change the way we travel, together.
The Lifestyle Project