“While there are lots of books available on retirement, the only book that really matters is the one that you write yourself”.
What am I doing talking about retirement, aka the golden years? As far as I am concerned there’s no such thing. But a close relative of ours recently retired and is in a bit of a dilemma, going through that phase of not knowing what to do with his time now that he is not working anymore. Suddenly, all the activity and hectic routine seems to have come to a standstill.
After retirement, life can feel lonely and boring. I think now is the time not to limit oneself. In a world where opportunities are endless, age is nothing but a number – all one needs is new fervor and a support system, as these can go a long way along the path to a wholesome and fulfilling life.
Essentially, retirement is a time to kick back and enjoy the good things in life after years of slogging. Think about all the time retirees have on their hands, time to do what they please without worrying: hobbies to pursue, learn new things, make friends, or simply put up their feet and relax!
As we chatted with this relative, he felt constrained by his chronic health issues, stating that there was no way he could “enjoy” life doing what he wanted, since he had to think about medical emergencies.
True. The freedom to pursue your happiness can remain just a dream if health issues come in the way of enjoying this phase. Of course, no one can really avoid falling sick, so the thing to do is to ensure that you have the means to deal with health issues when they happen.
The good news is, it only takes a couple of steps after retirement to make sure that you are indeed in your golden years.
Here’s my take.
Make Sure That You Don’t Compromise on Your Health
If your body is healthy, you’ll be able to use your retirement to do pretty much anything you want. So, always ensure that you are taking good care of yourself, especially, post retirement. This includes:
- Regular exercise: I just cannot overemphasize on the importance of a well-rounded health and fitness Some great activities to include are swimming, brisk walks, and gardening. You can also join a gym, and buddy up with a friend to stay motivated and consistent. Scout around for local gyms that offer special concessions to senior citizens. The human body is full of surprises as much as it is a miracle, and it’s never too late to achieve things. I know a lot of retirees who train for and participate in marathons, trekking and mountaineering. The idea is to strengthen your body as well as bring a change in thoughts and perceptions towards life. Having said that, whatever is your fitness goal, do consult a doctor to check what activities are best for you based on your health status.
- Step outside: Playing a sport regularly will help you stay fit while also letting you have fun. If there’s a sport you’ve always wanted to play, now is the time to start! Do this on a regular basis to stay motivated, healthy and fit. Some sports to consider are golf, tennis, swimming and even cycling.
- Increase your fibre intake: Consuming enough fibre ensures a happy tummy. It also brings down your cholesterol levels while helping you reduce the risk of diseases like diabetes, cardio vascular diseases and hyper tension.
- Get your health insured: There are a number of health insurance for senior citizens that will cover different aspects of your health needs. Retired and senior citizens are eligible for medical insurance up to the age of 75 years. This is the best possible way to secure your health and not worry about medical costs in case of any kind of medical emergency. It is a crucial security for life. If you have children, they can cover you in their health insurance. With rising number of critical illnesses, a basic health insurance plan may not suffice to cover the cost of critical illness; so it might be a better idea to get a critical illness plan. The policy gives a pay out on diagnosis of a critical illness ailment, and thus, helps secure your finances. Additionally, it is worthwhile to build a huge corpus or savings that can be used for any kind of unexpected expenses, including medical emergencies. This amount can be used to fund your travel plans or any other pursuit post retirement.
Spend More Time with Your Loved Ones
Our relationships define us to a large extent. We are social creatures, and our interactions with others give us purpose and keep us motivated. As humans, we are tuned to want to share our lives, joys, sorrows, and experiences with those who’ve been with us.
After retirement, there is a lot of time to enjoy with spouse, children, pets, relatives, and friends. People who have fulfilling personal lives are more likely to be healthier with a stronger immune system. I think young people with elderly parents must also make the time for them from their busy schedules. Let them know you care with little gestures like getting them a health insurance cover, taking a trip together, or just spending time together.
Join Social Groups and Make New Friends
As you get older, it can become just a little harder to meet new people and make new friends. Your social circle becomes even more important. The broader your social network is, the stronger your support system. That said, today’s technology makes it easier than ever to find people with the same interests. To begin with, you can join community centres and clubs. You can also go online and look for meetups near you.
Happiness is a state of mind, and you just have to look around for what makes you happy. After all, you’ve worked so hard for so many years. Now, it’s time to focus on you.