Keys to a Healthier, Happier and More Fulfilling Retirement

By on October 5, 2015

By Anna Cook−

Re-reading old articles, as you do, – well, if you are a slightly eccentric boho women’s and 50+ advocate like me you do – sorry, I digress, so…. I came across an article I wrote years ago (From Organized Crime to a Peaceful Retirement) about two men, one just retired and the other with about a year left to go. I know, I can hear the gasps of shock already – I actually used men as the basis for an article! 😉

At the time I was very concerned that Dodger, after such an intense, high pressure, dangerous and extremely stressful career would be totally lost and fall to pieces in his retirement – particularly in comparison to his friend Mr P. Mr P, had had a responsible, but quiet and stable, life and in retirement was climbing the walls and already slipping into depression. There is another person, Drummer, a friend of mine and Dodger’s, (and same job as him but different region), that I want to bring into this article so I can give you an example of three ‘keys’ of what you can do in retirement… your choice as to which is the most fulfilling!

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The characters:

Mr P is a lovely guy, was very good at his job, supportive of his team, good leader, financially secure, owner of lovely house in beautiful historic town in South of France. On retiring he spent all day at home, no hobbies, wife at work and when I met him said all he could see was the four walls of his living room and furniture getting bigger and his life force getting smaller. Every suggestion or idea put to him he rejected, saying either he didn’t know how to do it, or he thought he deserved a break after so many years hard work.

Dodger, as I mentioned in the other article, was a high flying cop, head of an elite crime-busting force specialising in organized crime. When I spoke to him he was looking forward to his retirement after so many years of high stress, long hours and too much pressure. He was worried about what he would/could do when he stopped working as he didn’t feel he was capable of going from a high octane environment to a life of leisure. Wife still working, children at school, owner of nice house, pool etc South of France.

Drummer, was head of a similar police unit in a different region. His whole life was the police. Didn’t want to retire. His hobbies were parachuting, photography, sailing, playing drums in a Celtic band. Wife still working, grown up kids, renter of small house in village in northern France.

I am sure you are dying to ask me… What did they do?

Their ‘Keys’ to fulfilment:

Mr P didn’t do much. He decided that his working life was over, he deserved a rest, he was too old and had few options. He went out to the restaurant and theatre more often, had a few more holidays, weekends away, ate a little more, drank a little more, moaned a little more. (Drove his wife crazy – lol)

Mr P’s bronze key solution: Positive – He used his time to see friends occasionally and go to restaurants, theatre a little more. Negative – He ate/drank too much, was bored out of his skull, had no interest in anything and was relatively miserable.

Dodger took his knowledge and created a small business in security. He wasn’t passionately interested but he wanted to do something easy, in a field he was familiar with. He wanted to avoid the stress, pressure and intensity of his previous career. He wanted to stay active on his terms.

Dodger’s silver key solution: He re-purposed his existing skills into a different field, setting the limits he wanted and although not deeply passionate about the work, was sociable, content, active, felt useful and valued.

Drummer took his passions and created a small business as a photographer/video producer. What did he film? People doing their first, and subsequent, parachute jumps. After about 6 years of this seasonal job he stopped as his body was beginning to feel tired from jumping out of a plane several times a day, most days of the week for about 7 months of the year. After that he bought a little boat to go sailing and fishing, and created another small business as a private investigator working for lawyers, businesses etc.

Drummer’s gold key solution: He took his passions and with them created a business he, himself, loved and which also gave enormous pleasure to his clients. This made him happy, valued, full of life and energy. When the physical aspect became too physical, he created another business re-purposing his previous expertise and contacts from the life that he had loved in the police. He divided his time between this new venture and sailing, diving for lobster/crab and fishing off the boat. Again he was happy, sociable, energetic, working in a field he enjoyed, using skills he already had and still being able to spend a lot of time on some of his favourite hobbies and give pleasure to friends by taking them with him…

 So, think about your retirement – what will you do?

Whether you are a man or a woman, you face the same choices – how will you use them to bring yourself the maximum healthy, happy and youthful fulfilment

I recommend:

  • Make plans, have projects
  • Be healthy – stay physically and mentally active as well as improving your eating and drinking habits
  • Be sociable end meet/interact with other people
  • Do something with a component that helps or give pleasure to other people
  • Repurpose existing skills and/or take your dreams and passions to create something you enjoy

Above all – be interested in what is around you, generate energy, create and take opportunities, have fun, laugh and love life! You have your best years ahead of you… Grab them with both hands!

About Anna Letitia Cook

Empowering women to discover what they truly want instead of being stuck in what they "should", Anna Letitia Cook is particularly passionate about mentoring women executives, and the 50+ sector, in finding clarity in their career choices to achieve freedom, fulfilment and leadership success. She created and became CEO of her first company in the entertainment industry at age 32. Midlife approaching, hungry for a dynamic change, she refocused her experience, founding WomenUP Ltd, focusing on the challenges of corporate gender balance strategy”. Creator of the process SCOPE for career, fulfilment and success, she is currently working on her first book ‘Liberate Your Career: The Women’s Guide to Freedom and Fulfilment’, with plans for a second, ‘Glass Ceiling Grans’, early next year. http://WomenUP.Global

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Keys to a Healthier, Happier and More Fulfilling Retirement