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Here at the-Coaching Blog-run by Gerard O’Donovan, our aim is to constantly bring value to those seeking to improve their lives. Therefore we have a policy of publishing articles and materials by guest authors whom we value and appreciate. Today’s guest author is Jean Gilhead (Spain).
‘Many a false step is made while standing still.’ ~ Chinese proverb
Many people do not give much thought to planning their retirement – in fact, most prefer not to think about it at all until it is upon them. It can seem scary and unreal as they sense the potential for a vast space opening up that they have no idea how to fill. Some have vague dreams of playing golf or, depending on which part of the world they live in, reclining by a pool with a drink in one hand and a book in the other.
The reality is usually somewhat different to what they imagined when the moment comes, and after. They can find themselves surprised to be bored, or tired, or champing at the bit to do something meaningful with their new-found freedom.
Having a nice lump of money tucked away certainly helps retirees achieve a desired lifestyle. What is more important, however, is some serious, creative, advance thinking about how to actually spend these precious senior years. We could say it is how retirees manage their time and money that matters more than how much they have saved. In fact, planning new and interesting things to do is one of the keys to a happy and fulfilling 3rd age.
It seems that those who spent their lives working solely for the income, rather than for the enjoyment of the job, actually feel less satisfied about their retirement. Why is that? Maybe because when they reach retirement, they are not accustomed to thinking in terms of spending their days doing something they love, or even like. By the time they pick up the gold watch or bracelet and clock out for the last time, they are so emotionally exhausted that they close themselves down to the possibility of ever being truly happy.
Different cultures experience retirement differently of course. Latin countries, for example, being more fixated on their families – close and extended, relish being able to spend more time around them once they can finally drop the 9-5 burden that has kept them apart for so much of their working lives.
In other societies, the sudden feeling of being ‘useless’, especially after so many years of maybe being a lynchpin in a corporation, is a shock to the unprepared or those without families. To overcome this, voluntary work can be a lifesaver for many once they leave the confines of their full-time job. Others take up new and totally different, part-time employment to fill the gap of another empty day, only to find they thoroughly enjoy their new career. Both directions create an obvious win-win, as they put the retiree in a position of helping others, maybe for the first time ever within a work position.
Preparation is Key
No matter one’s age or lifestyle, income or interests, spending some time preparing and planning a future will only pay dividends.
Many years ago, 2Young2Retire was created and developed by a previously high-flying American couple who retired, only to find themselves bored beyond measure and needing to do something more than just fill a void. They started helping their other retired friends to try out new ideas. This eventually led to them building a community of like-minded people and helping them get started on new careers, many in the voluntary field but mostly with some form of remuneration. Their enthusiasm crossed the globe and now 2Young2Retire Facilitators help and support retirees in their own communities all over the world.
As a Certified 2Young2Retire Facilitator of many years, I feel privileged to have been the first in Spain and one of the first in Europe to have been trained by this enterprising American couple. Using my coaching and counselling skills along with 2Young2Retire guidelines, planning and guidance have helped up-coming retirees move forward meaningfully into the next phase of their life and has assisted them in participating actively in the longevity revolution.
Don’t just sit there…
As with younger people, what benefits 3rd Agers is to look at the emotional, spiritual, relationship, community, volunteering and travel aspects of their lives, as well as the leisure, wellness and money issues around retirement. They are encouraged to come together in small groups to examine key issues, attitudes and habits, and for each person to design their own Personal Lifestyle Plan.
For a more meaningful ‘re-firement’, retirees as well as pre-retirees need to focus on possibilities and opportunities, learn important tools to help identify their values, choices, strengths, dreams and goals, and follow these up with action planning. With group support they are encouraged to start taking desired action immediately, and follow-up coaching sessions consolidate the process for those that desire it.
For those who are already retired, on the point of leaving paid work, or just thinking about their years ahead, now is the time to make some plans and start putting those plans into action. Do not wait until it is too late and you find yourself sitting around bored or, worse, depressed. Seize the moment – act now! Start to move forward joyfully into the next, and possibly most important, phase of your life. Enjoy!
About Jean Gilhead
Jean Gilhead is a life direction coach and hypnotherapist who also runs communication skills courses. She is a published author of fiction novel ‘Living in Bright Shadows’ and non-fiction ‘Practical Mindfulness’, plus many articles, e-books and short stories. Originally from London, Jean has been coaching and counselling for over 20 years in UK and Spain.
Working with individuals and groups, in-person and via Skype, Jean now divides her time between Barcelona and the Costa del Sol in Spain and continues to inspire and motivate people via her website: www.jeangilhead.com
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