They say 50 is the new 40, and odds are good that if you are now in this second half of life, you feel as vital, energetic, and passionate as ever. As a result, Baby Boomers reaching their 50s and 60s are redefining what it means to retire.
That’s why I thoroughly enjoyed psychologist David Borchard’s book, “The Joy of Retirement: Finding Happiness, Freedom, and the Life You’ve Always Wanted.”
For the last three decades, Borchard has helped adults rejuvenate their careers and lives, and find fulfillment and meaning as older adults. And although the financial side of retirement and aging is different from the physiological side, it is clearly equally as important.
In Chapter 1, in fact, Borchard busts the myth of what retirement means. Now 73, he knows from experience that you don’t need to withdraw into Webster’s definition of passive retirement: “to withdraw oneself from business, active service, or public life; to disappear, to take out of circulation.”
On the contrary, says Borchard: “I don’t want or intend to work full-time for any one organization ever again. But I do want more balance and diversity in my life than was possible when I was fully employed. That sentiment is one I often hear echoed from the hundreds of retirement-bound clients I have worked with over the years.”
He asks: “How about you? Where do you stand on the question of how you want to be spending your time in the next chapter of your life?”
Answers to those questions are discussed throughout the book, starting with Chapter 2, where the author insists that retirement can—and should—be a period of growth, rejuvenation, and discovery.
“Think of your life as a series of chapters in a book, with past chapters representing your personal history and future chapters as the blank pages upon which your story will be recorded,” he suggests. “You are more likely to achieve passion in your book of life if you exercise creative authorship over your future chapters rather than being a passive observer.”
In other chapters, he offers advice on:
- Finding new interests that make the most of your unique talents.
- Planning your 50-plus lifestyle.
- Assessing what transitions you are ready and willing to make.
- Defining priorities and goals.
- Establishing your criteria for success.
- Following the seven steps to maintaining vitality.
Borchard (pictured above) also provides seven steps to maintaining vitality.
He suggests that retirees remember:
- Your life is a book of chapters.
- You are an interesting subject.
- You are more than old titles.
- Values of the past may be outdated guides for the future.
- It’s never too late to develop a latent talent.
- Old dogs can learn new tricks.
- Locate where your new life can flourish.
Enjoying the Second Season
I particularly appreciate the fact that Borchard never loses sight of our individual need to find fulfillment and self-actualization.
He repeatedly encourages readers to understand that their lives don’t end when their career does—and that in many cases, the best is yet to come.
“You are the magnificent sum of everyone you have ever known, all that you’ve ever done, and every dream you’ve ever dared to envision,” Borchard reminds us.
“You wouldn’t have come this far if you hadn’t already been successful in many areas of your life. Now, you have the opportunity to use every last piece of it, to enjoy being the new you.”
For additional information on Borchard’s ideas, click here to learn more about The Joy of Retirement.