For many years the golden freedom of retirement hung before us, the reward for a lifetime of working hard. It would be a time of adventure and relaxation, pursuing passions and engaging in activities that you never had time to pursue while you were working.
Much of that still holds great appeal….I want the freedom, the adventure and the relaxation, time to indulge my interests and do new things, time to travel and have fun. But at what price?
I certainly don’t want to stop working completely. I don’t want to wake up one morning and realize I no longer have economic purpose and challenge in my life.I don’t want to watch our retirement savings disappear faster than we expected. I don’t want to feel, or be treated, like an ‘old person’. With luck there will be plenty of years ahead when that will be inevitable, but now isn’t that time.
Throughout my adult life I’ve defined my purpose primarily through my roles within my family, but closely followed by how well I accomplished my work role. My definition of purpose may be different from others, but I know I have spent my life measuring myself by what I did and how well I did it.
Perhaps I think differently about this because I’m self-employed and love working in my business. If I were still employed I’d possibly be craving that day when work stopped being part of my life. Certainly those friends who are employed express this desire regularly, as do some of my career coaching clients who are seeking a new job out of necessity. The strongest motivation to retire…perhaps escape…from work seems to be freedom to do what they want to do, when they want to do it. I don’t look on ‘freedom of retirement’ in the same way because I have created much of that freedom within my lifestyle business.
I hear many people around retirement age ask the question: “What’s the Next Step?” Retirement is increasingly being seen as a transition from the career path that has been followed to something else that will be challenging and give purpose and fulfillment to life. For some this is voluntary work, offering their services in some way to contribute to their community or society as a whole. For others the opportunity to work part time or as a contractor/consultant, mixing work and earning with travel and family involvement, is an ideal way of combining work with freedom to do the things you want. Increasingly, perhaps because of the global economic crisis or maybe because technology has made it so accessible, many choose to create their own business online.
Whatever the motivations or the experience, the traditional concept of retirement seems to have faded and is slowly being replaced by a smorgasbord of dynamic opportunities, all offering different variations of purpose, fulfillment and freedom.
BoomersNextStep.com explores this smorgasbord, from job search to creating a laptop lifestyle, from travel adventures to pursuing your passions, as we look at how the baby boomer generation can reinvent and reward themselves.
We have chosen the path of a hybrid lifestyle retirement. We enjoy the freedom of retirement, but we also enjoy the stimulation of our work. We have an online business that we can do anywhere in the world, bringing in additional income to fund our travel, our sailing and our other lifestyle choices. We both love having the additional mental challenge of learning new skills and meeting new people through our business.