Top Ten Ways to Stay Active
and Involved During Your
Retirement Years

Retirement can be wonderful, or terrible. A lot depends on how well you plan ahead, and then how well you adapt to your new lifestyle. Check out this article by Donna Bradshaw for some retirement strategies that will help you make the most of your "golden years."

The best time of your life can be the retirement years. You're older, wiser, have more flexibility and a better idea about what is important to you and what you want to do with your life. Nevertheless, a great deal of security comes from having a predictable job. First of all, you have a place to go each weekday at a prescribed time, certain people with whom you work and socialize, and a certain compensation you receive for your time and effort. All of these things can disappear when you retire. We would like to list some strategies which will help you adapt to the years following retirement:

1) Do not retire at all.

There are many people choosing not to retire today and they will more easily find employment as our population changes. Over the next ten years, a decrease in the number of workers aged 25-44 is expected, which will cause a shortage in the labor market. This shortage will increase job opportunities for older workers and make your age and experience an even greater asset.

2) Work at improving your social life

Make an effort to stay connected to people and even increase your social circles. Get into the habit of making new friends. One idea is to take inventory of your hobbies and interests and then find an association or club to join involving those interests. This can be a good way to make friends with whom you can share those same interests. If you're shy and retiring (no pun intended!), bring a friend along. If you must go it alone, however, volunteer to be on a committee where you'll automatically work and interact with others.

3) Become an event planner

Don't wait around for an invitation to events, be the one who does the inviting. Try throwing a party. You may have to be the one to reach out to others, but don't let that upset you. Reach out to others anyway. You and your friends will both be happier because of your efforts .

4) Make good health a priority

If you were to stop and think about it, every facet of your life is affected by the state of your health. But a great majority of people don't give it a second thought until there is a problem. Take inventory of your present health habits. Will they help or hinder you in living to a ripe old age? Also, try and schedule annual visits with your doctor for health screenings. Additionally, in order to create an overall sense of well-being, look into stress-management techniques such as yoga and deep breathing exercises.

5) Stay in shape with exercise

Exercise is good for you. You will feel and look better with regular exercise, which will help you want to stay involved with people. There are books and tapes available on getting and keeping in shape. Buy one or several and get started. While you're at it, you might join a gym or health club.

6) Become part of a cause greater than yourself

You will gain fulfillment and a feeling of self-worth by making a contribution to the greater good. Find something that is important and worthwhile to you and make a commitment. You will be helping yourself as well as helping others.

7) Increase your technology expertise

It is vital to keep up with the latest computer skills and programs, especially if you choose to work in an office. Nothing will brand you as an "old dinosaur" more than being technologically behind the times (except possibly the next area).

8) Dress fashionably for the times

Call your local department store or boutique and make an appointment with a fashion consultant to update your look. If that's not an option, think of a public figure or celebrity that dresses well and that is similar to you in age and body type, and imitate their style. Also, get a great haircut. You may already have a great hair stylist. If not, seek out friends or acquaintances with hairstyles you admire and get a referral.

9) Take time to fulfill your dreams

Think about what it is you have always wanted to do but never seemed to have the time for. For many people, retirement may be the time to explore dreams and make choices that never seemed possible up to now. What is it that you have always wanted to do, but never seemed to have time for? Start out by making a plan for your life. Ask yourself what you would like to see yourself doing in the next 5, 10, 15 years and beyond. Then make up a detailed game plan and go for it!

10) Your attitude is everything

Make it a priority to maintain a youthful attitude. By that I mean energetic and eager to live each day to the fullest. A lot of people buy into the idea that now that they've reached a certain age, they have to act a certain way. We all know of older people who look and act much younger than they are. Let their example inspire you to do the same.

During the retirement years, for most of us the key to happiness is staying connected to others. Being with people we like, taking part in activities we enjoy, and doing things we believe are worthwhile will keep our post retirement years exciting and fulfilling. Work to implement these retirement strategies now. Then when people ask what you'll be doing during retirement, you'll tell them you're having so much fun that you haven't had time to consider it.

Donna Bradshaw is a Career Consultant and Speaker specializing in career development and transition guidance for men and women over 40. She can be reached at

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