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Embracing Life After Retirement


At some point in a long and busy life, “what’s next?” becomes a nagging question. Perhaps you’ve done what you’ve done long enough, achieved financial critical mass, or just run out of energy. Maybe you have encountered health issues, or perhaps birthdays have piled up so much you feel like time is running out.

A New Approach to Everyday Life

Retirement may come as a relief to some whose personalities can tolerate an open-ended or curious approach to life. It takes a certain type of person to relax with the idea of an unstructured future where smelling the roses is the only activity on the calendar.

However, the majority of us will require more structure than that.

The Need for Planning

From an early age, we learn to plan our days, weeks, seasons, semesters, and life in general. It’s all tightly choreographed until late middle-age when things become a bit more uncertain.

There is a strategy called the three-legged stool approach that helps to provide a foundation on which life during this important stage can be built. Originally used for financial planning for retirement, it works equally well for life planning.

Finding Stability

In reality, a three-legged stool offers a solid foundation. If you stand on it, your weight is evenly distributed and it supports you. Metaphorically speaking, if you can find your own version of three supportive elements in your daily life, you will experience feelings of stability.

So, if you are wondering what’s next in this stage of your life, take some time to consider these crucial elements and create your own three-legged stool. Embrace the future with excitement and a sense of direction. Here’s to the next chapter!

My Strategy for a Fulfilling Retirement

Retirement can be both exciting and daunting. Many people worry about what they will do with their newfound free time. When I was planning my own retirement, I came up with a strategy that provided me with the structure and support I needed to avoid feeling lost or overwhelmed.

The Three-Legged Stool Approach

The key to my approach was creating a three-legged stool, where each leg provided support in a critical area: cognitive, physical, and aesthetic stimulation. By focusing on these three areas, I was able to maintain a sense of purpose and fulfillment throughout my retirement.

Tailoring to Your Personality

When it comes to retirement planning, personality matters. Introverts and extroverts approach this life stage differently. For introverts, solitary activities such as gardening, crossword puzzles or memoir writing may be more appealing, while extroverts tend to prefer social experiences. Understanding your personality style is vital to structuring a retirement plan that suits your needs.

Building My Three-Legged Stool

With my personality in mind, I set out to construct my three-legged stool. The first leg was daily exercise, which helped me stay physically healthy and maintain a routine. I made a commitment to myself to go to the gym regularly and stick to an exercise routine.

The second leg was learning a new skill – playing the cello -which provided cognitive and aesthetic stimulation. This hobby gave me something to work towards and allowed me to express creativity that I didn’t have time for before retirement.

The third leg of the stool was writing – a passion of mine that provided cognitive stimulation. Writing kept me busy and allowed me to continue pursuing a craft that I loved.

Final Thoughts

Creating a retirement strategy that supports you in three essential areas is critical—cognitive, physical, and aesthetic stimulation. Incorporating activities that match your personality type provides you with a sense of purpose and enjoyment. By following this three-legged stool approach, retirement can be a fulfilling and productive time of life.

Are You an Introvert or Extrovert? Here’s How to Stay Socially Active

If my placeholders seem to be an introvert’s choice of daily activities, they are. But that doesn’t mean introverts don’t want to socialize. It just means they may prefer quieter, more solitary activities to recharge their batteries.

For contrast, an extroverted friend walks and takes bike rides with friends, attends a foreign-language class and participates in a watercolor painting group. These are her three legs, all of which include people interactions and feedback.

Volunteering for Extroverts

Volunteer activities that occur on a regular basis, such as working in a soup kitchen or giving talks as a museum docent, are also options for extroverts. By doing charitable work, they can meet new people while giving back to the community.

The Importance of Friendships

Frequently spending time with friends is satisfying and necessary for both introverts and extroverts. In fact, having close friendships can contribute to better mental and physical health in old age.

The Final Third of Life

For 100 years, developmental psychologists mainly studied men’s lives during the first half of the 20th century as men navigated their early years. But with more Americans living beyond 75 years, developmental psychologists have started paying attention to the final third of life for men and women.

Think long term when considering how to stay socially active in your golden years. There are plenty of ways to keep busy and engaged with others, regardless of whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert.

Fulfilling Your Sense of Destiny: Navigating Life’s Final Chapter

As we approach our later years, it’s natural to reflect on our lives and seek fulfillment in new ways. According to Erik Erikson, the most famous life-span theorist of the 20th century, the last two life stages are critical in rounding out a person’s life. He called this stage “generativity,” emphasizing the importance of passing on our knowledge and wisdom.

Share Your Wisdom

It’s a time for taking stock of who you are, what you know, and sharing it with the next generation. But as you do so, the unfinished business of self-development may be uncovered, and unrealized hopes and wishes can become apparent.

Time is running out – it’s time to take risks and develop what is necessary for fulfillment. Maybe it’s taking up oil painting, becoming a tutor, joining a cycling club, or going back to school. How you approach this stage depends on your personality, introvert or extrovert. But a universal theme is the desire to make sense of life, to fulfill one’s sense of destiny, and maybe, metaphorically or in fact, write life’s final chapter.

Reflect and Recharge

This life stage provides a sense of closure – it enables you to see that you’ve met your goals as best you could, satisfied your basic needs, and achieved humanness. It gives you the opportunity to acknowledge your own life as meaningful, worthwhile, and righteous. So how exactly do you do that?

Reflecting on your journey so far can be therapeutic. Recall significant moments, accomplishments or challenges overcome, and areas where you have grown personally and professionally. Acknowledge your strengths and achievements, see them as stepping stones to your present-day successes.

Recharging your mind and body is also crucial at this stage. Keep yourself active with hobbies you enjoy or things you’ve yet to do. By taking care of your physical and mental health, you’ll be more equipped to navigate life’s final chapter with gusto.

Retirement Planning: Doing it Your Own Way

Retirement is an open-ended stage of life that requires a tailor-made approach for every individual. While experts in developmental psychology conduct studies on adult development, it’s up to us to create our own plans to make the most of this final life stage.

The key to successful retirement planning is to rely on your three-legged stool: your social network, your health, and your finances. Paying attention to your personality style is also crucial – there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for everyone.

It’s important to keep in mind that retirement can be the most satisfying time of your life. Fueled by the wisdom accumulated over the years, it’s time to ask yourself “if not now, then when?”

Retirement planning doesn’t have to be overwhelming – start by evaluating your financial situation, understanding your social needs, and considering your health requirements. From there, you can take steps to create a strategy that aligns with your personal goals and aspirations.

Don’t fall into the trap of letting others dictate what retirement “should” look like – embrace this life stage on your own terms and discover what truly makes you happy.

More from Next Avenue:

  • Tips on How to Transition Into Retirement
  • What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do in Retirement
  • How to Discover Your Purpose in Retirement

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