Is there life after retirement – could a career change in the mid 50’s encourage a longer more fulfilled working life, especially for those ‘just filling time’?

The above question reminds me of how a new puppy often encourages an older dog to be more active – a renewing of the spirit.

There is an acknowledged changing attitude towards ageing, even governments are noting this:  https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/lords-select/public-services-committee/report-ready-for-ageing/attitudes-to-ageing/

Age is often said to be a ‘state of mind’. Although, that outlook depends on personality, character traits, physical health and life’s experiences – so it’s difficult to identify each person’s take on the subject.

Changes to the age at which the State pension can be claimed in Britain  (https://www.gov.uk/state-pension-age ) alongside changes in the law regarding private pensions have both contributed to a revisit/rethink of when to retire and now offers a greater flexibility.

Employers are also more open to discussions with employees in regard to reducing hours and/or taking a ‘Step Down’. Big companies have realised the benefits of retaining skills in the workplace. This does not impact negatively on the younger population – by retaining those with experience of the organisational purpose, values and future aims a mentorship and learning environment is offered to those entering the workplace.

Another opportunity for those coming towards the later stages of working life is to ‘re-learn’ and embark on a different career. Often we underestimate the transferability of our skills and learning so taking up a new challenge does not have to be a 3 year degree or apprenticeship but a widening of skills we already have.

Ageism – is this a form of prejudice or discrimination? Does the term present an out-dated picture of society’s older generation? Can the term promote social exclusion and isolation, which impacts on both physical and mental health? This document  https://www.rsph.org.uk/uploads/assets/uploaded/010d3159-0d36-4707-aee54e29047c8e3a.pdf    identifies some actions that can introduce positivity around ageing from a young age as well as in working environments (diversity of age groups)

The following link is to a document of selected articles on attitudes to ageing and older age. http://www.cpa.org.uk/information/readings/attitudes_to_ageing.pdf  Comprised of short abstracts it provides an overview of attitudes and experiences of ageing, with links to further reading.

So when to retire – or even more of a question – when to consider ourselves old? Recently an article in The Times (pg 4 20.11.2019) suggests that old age should now been redefined as 70 not 60 as previously measured (I have been given back my youth 😊)

Psychological wellbeing and physical health are closely linked and this is especially noted in the older age groups.

Wellbeing can be described as ‘satisfied with life, sense of fulfilment, acceptable level of achievement, mobility, independence.’ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5992429/ is a link to an academic work describing the benefits of promoting well-being through physical activity (a very simple explanation, so read article if you want to know more)

There is an increasing amount of published literature relating to ‘Ageing’ which address both the practicalities and the theoretical. Some present it as a challenge to be overcome – full of useful advice on maintaining cognitive and physical health. Others, more cheerfully, present a different view – a redefining of the ageing concept, an alternative approach, a widening of opportunities.

As I noted earlier, ageing is a concept of the mind and each individual handles it differently and none are incorrect. If it is your desire to retire to ‘slippers, gardening and afternoon TV’ then enjoy. Others look on retirement and ageing as an opportunity to broaden/expand experiences building on the ‘life/skills blocks’ already achieved.

You chose whichever model of ageing is right for you and reading available literature can be both informative and guiding.  In his book ‘The Wisdom Years’ Dr. Zui Lanir presents his developing theory that there can be purpose for the increased life expectancy our generation are enjoying, that the period between adulthood and old age is a period of wisdom. This period can be one of discovery and personal empowerment. That is of course a very simple explanation of an interesting concept so please read the book if you wish to gain further insights on how to enhance fulfilment in later years.

There are many articles available on the internet offering personal reflections of retirement. Below are a few that may be of interest, some scholarly but all are easy to read and not overlong.

http://web.mit.edu/gtmarx/www/hitherthither.html

http://web.mit.edu/gtmarx/www/hitherthither.html

https://academic.oup.com/asj/article/35/2/225/180219

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/10-lessons-from-retirement-2019-01-25

Hopefully some of the above is useful to you as you plan the next stage of your life. A period that should add to your portfolio of life rather than diminish it.

 

Photo acknowledgements:

Photo by Nayani Teixeira on Unsplash – Featured Image

Photo by Clark Tibbs on Unsplash – End Photo

Photo by Chetan Menaria on Unsplash – Photo 1

Photo by Hope House Press – Leather Diary Studio on Unsplash – Photo 2

 

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