Living the Good Life or the Good Lie?
Why repurposing your retirement increases the enjoyment factor.
Chris loved to fish. He spent the first two years of his retirement traveling around the country on fishing trips—an adventure that many envied.
When I caught up with him, I asked how he was enjoying retirement. He told me all about his exploits. Then he grew quiet and said, “This has all been a lot of fun, but now I’m bored and don’t know what to do.”
He explained that he had planned to live his dream life in retirement, doing all the things he always wanted to do. But now even fishing had lost its meaning. He felt he was swimming through life without a purpose.
What Chris Learned
Chris’s experience can be a good lesson for all of us. When it’s time to transition from a career to a different lifestyle, most of us don’t know how to make that shift and still maintain a sense of significance.
Does that mean we shouldn’t fish or do whatever leisure activity we enjoy in retirement? Of course not. But most of us, like Chris, risk missing the boat if we don’t learn to incorporate purposeful pursuits into our retirement fun.
The Good Lie
Everywhere we look, we are enticed to spend all of life’s opportunities on ourselves. When we take the bait and get hooked on pursuing a life of leisure, we lose momentum and purpose. We get bored. We get selfish. When these emotions merge with the realities of aging, we begin to feel old, burned-out, and used up.
Retreating from the world rather than engaging with it means we lose ability to affect change on everyday situations, impact younger generations, or rectify injustices we see all around us. This loss is like a sinker on a fishing line that is too heavy to let the bobber stay afloat. It pulls us down and accelerates our decline.
A Man Who Understood the Good Life
A man named Paul once faced an uncertain future as he languished in prison. He was old, tired, and sick. He had accomplished so much for his cause over his lifetime that you would think he would be focused on his past—reveling in his triumphs and yearning to correct past mistakes. But in writing to a group of his fellow workers, he made these decline-busting statements: “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal” (Phil.3:12–14).
This man was the Apostle Paul, and from a Roman jail, he gave us a three-step process for overcoming the acceleration of decline in our later years:
- Focus on purpose
- Forget the past
- Forge ahead to the future
Focus, Forget, Forge
Remember my friend Chris, the fisherman? He took a step back and examined what was most important to him. He discovered what he was best at doing, what he loved most, and what meant the most to him. When he uncovered those things, he understood his purpose.
He realized that he was a gifted teacher and mentor, that he still loved fishing, and, being ex-military, that he had a heart for wounded vets. Chris stopped relying on past accomplishments and looked for ways to use his experience in new ways. He got involved in a ministry in which he takes returning vets fishing to help them recover from their war experiences.
What a purpose! Chris went from being bored with fun to impacting people that he cares about, doing the thing he loves the most, and visualizing a brilliant future. Chris learned that retirement could be a time to repurpose your life rather than retreat from it. He finally found the Good Life—and it was more fun than he’d ever imagined.
About the author – Andy Raub is known as “America’s Encore Coach” because of his passion to help retirees repurpose their lives and reorganize their money. An early baby boomer, he has been a financial advisor for 35 years, bald for 40 years, and husband to Jean for 49 years. Andy has the skill of a teacher, the insight of a writer, and the heart of a coach. He is “Dandy” to four teenage grandchildren, Dad to two daughters, and irritant to two sons-in-law. Andy is the author of the new book The Encore Curve – How to Retire with a Life Plan That Excites You and the founder of the Encore Curve program. See how The Encore Curve process can help you clarify your life and simplify your money at EncoreCurve.com.