At some point in middle age, most of us realize that we no longer are climbing the ladder to success–at least not in conventional terms. Our youngest child is grown and has left home for college, the military or an apartment across town. Our boss informs that we are highly unlikely to receive future promotions. The work is OK, but we face the ‘same-old-same-old’ until we retire. Perhaps we face pending mandatory retirement but our entire sense of self-worth comes from career and we haven’t given serious thought to doing anything else.
Do you feel like you’ve just been given a life sentence of rusting away on a sidetrack? Well sir or madam, your outlook on the future is totally up to you–the glass is half-empty and half-full! In fact, right now may be the perfect time to take a hard look at goals and priorities for the rest of your life. Let’s consider each circumstance in turn:
On the day your youngest leaves home, you and your spouse deserve blue-ribbon recognition. You have just completed one of life’s most treasured missions. Now you can concentrate on making the most of approaching empty-nest years? Here are some suggestions:
- You have not lost your children–they have simply relocated! Rapidly establish contact via the phone, e-mail, social media and frequent, well-planned visits. Stay connected, demonstrate sincere interest but don’t attempt to force yourself into every aspect of their young-adult lives.
- Reestablish focus upon yourself. You are far more than simply “mom” or “dad.” Commit to weekly introspection, pray for guidance, broaden your knowledge and have fun your way.
- Reestablish focus upon your spouse as full-time life partner. Re-kindle the romantic flame. Get to know your spouse all over again. Launch shared adventures just for two. Resume joint activities you cherished before family responsibilities got in the way.
- Reach out to your community. Volunteer for activities where you excel and will have a good time performing.
- Reach out to the world beyond. If you can afford it, travel to foreign lands. Learn new cultures. Dedicate time and energy to a cause.
Let’s look at the bright side–the pressure is off. Presuming your present position is secure and your employer healthy, you no longer need to play office politics or bust your tail for that next promotion. Here’s an opportunity to reapportion your precious time and energy:
- Remember at all times that your worth as an individual and success in life is determined by far more than position title or earnings. You are far more than your job!
- Continue to give a full day’s work for a full day’s pay, but ease up a bit on the job and dedicate extra time and energy to your family, church and community, public service and to enriching hobbies that you truly enjoy.
- Contribute as a team player. Some of the world’s most valuable employees are mature plateaued professionals who contribute irreplaceable skills, knowledge and expertise.
- Take initiative to enhance your present position. Volunteer for added responsibilities and prize temporary assignments, seeking out only those tasks that are fulfilling to you.
- Remain flexible, continually open to change and ready to accept new challenges. The one constant in today’s world of commerce is change–something totally unexpected may open up to you.
- Dedicate evenings and weekends to planning for the next stage: a new job, retirement or a fulfilling entrepreneurial venture.
Have you and your spouse wisely set aside and invested amounts sufficient to fund a long and comfortable retirement? If so, your remaining task is to prepare mentally: Absent your title, accustomed daily routine, work patterns and employer perks will you continue to believe and act as though your life matters? How you choose to live and contribute in retirement is up to you but here are a few suggestions:
- Approach your pending retirement the same as you would major career transition. How would you most like to expend time and energy for maximum benefit to self and others? Always remember, you are retiring from a job, not from life!
- What oft-postponed lifelong goals will you strive to accomplish in retirement? Launching joyful and purposeful retirement can be every bit as fulfilling as starting a business–and you aren’t assuming the risk.
- Once retired, promise that you will continue to behave like a person who can make a difference. Each morning, pledge to accomplish one pet project or lighten the load for at least one other person.
- As a relaxed, adventuresome and fun-loving retiree, you will attract positive like-minded individuals like a magnet. You will not be bored or alone.
I speak from experience: I sold my insurance brokerage three years ago and ever since have had more than enough to keep me busy. Best of all, I’m enjoying every minute of it!
One Final Adventure
As we move into and progress through our twilight years, we can’t help but speculate on one final adventure–the greatest adventure of all! Like me, are you confident of life after death wondrous beyond fondest expectations? Our finite human minds cannot to begin to envision the glorious possibilities of life eternal in the spirit realm! There can be no shortage of joyful anticipation for any spiritually-anchored woman or man.
Want to learn more about prospects for a glorious afterlife for yourself and loved ones? Tune in to the August 11, 2014 episode of my Internet radio program “Middle Age Can Be Your Best Age” (available live on the Internet now.) I interview Bob Olson, a former Private Investigator, who spent 15 years investigating and 3 years writing his book Answers About the Afterlife. Tune in to learn why you have nothing to fear at all after taking your last breath here on earth. To locate our program, simply Google “middle age your best age”–our link is at the top of page one.