Throughout most of our lives, we have some sort of structure to guide us. With a job, we have a standard routine. We get up at a certain time. We have a set process for getting dressed, preparing for work, and getting to work at a set time. Within our job, we have processes and procedures for accomplishing tasks and reaching goals. We typically have a set schedule.
For most of our lives, we are held accountable by a person or many people. This can be our spouse or our children. In our jobs, we report to someone, whether it be a supervisor or directly to customers.
A study several years back stated that 83% of American workers need ongoing supervision and reminders about how to stay structured on the job. Therefore, we need structure and accountability.
So, as we retire, what happens for most of us? We lose this structure and accountability. This means that our days can easily become consumed with aimless wonder and no real purpose, even though we started retirement with good intentions. We are humans. We are flawed. Jesus refers to us as sheep, which are not smart animals and wander aimlessly without direction.
How can we spend 10, 20, or 30 years in retirement waking up each day with no agenda, no schedule, and wandering aimlessly?
Consider these points before you retire:
- Our happiest and most fulfilled retiree clients are those that stay connected to their passion in some way, not necessarily working a 9-5 job.
- Having a “purpose” must be more than self-serving leisure activities, but rather finding ways to enrich the lives of others.
- Have you ever seen a machine (lawnmower, tractor, etc.) that hasn't been used for some time? It develops rust, parts go bad, and require a ton of maintenance to get it back to working condition.
- "Work" is a life-long endeavor. We are designed to carry weight and to be productive for as long as possible (not necessarily working a job but volunteering, etc.)
Structure and accountability are needed. This is so vital to our stability and health. Structure means each day, having set goals and an agenda to reach the goals. Don’t spend your days doing useless activities, just withering away.
Most of us need someone to which we report or hold us accountable. This can be a spouse or close friend. If you choose to work well into your retirement years, it could be your employer or customers. It could be the people you are helping through your volunteer work or the individuals you are mentoring. When others depend on us, and we put the needs of others in front of our own, there is a sense of purpose and fulfillment.
If you retire from work, you must “retire to” something. In addition to planning for retirement financially, you must have a plan for how you will spend your time in your “retirement years.”
Don’t live each day aimlessly. Don’t just wither away. Live your life with purpose!
Joe E. Hines, Jr.