Many people view retirement as their brass ring, their reward for decades of laboring, and they imagine their retirement to be a pleasant dream of sleeping in, pursuing hobbies, playing golf, travel, and so forth.
Most of this is certainly a possibility, and the dream carries lots of weight relative to the amount of dislike they have for their job. People who find their livelihood to be full of tension and stress, or tedious and uncreative, or boring and purposeless yearn for the day that it’s all behind them, and then they are free regarding their hours of the day and their “golden” years. But often the reality is a shocking disappointment!
Much of a person’s identity might be tied up in their job title and their responsibilities. They may find themselves in a place where their ego has been undermined or their self-esteem has been diminished by this loss of identity, regardless of how unappealing their labor was. And then they flounder about, sometimes for months but often for years, seeking purpose… a replacement for what their job had offered. This period of confusion, diminished self-esteem, and little reason to wake up and face the day, can and does lead to health-related issues that may not be attributed simply to aging but to psychological issues. All of this can be circumvented.
How? By doing what you love and monetizing it. If your livelihood entails an inner purpose, a thrilling effort towards personal achievement of the satisfying kind, or better still, helping other people, then you have no desire to retire.
No desire to retire! If you love what you do, it has been said, the money will follow.
Well, sometimes – especially if you make a scary leap from a secure paycheck with a pension or benefits to self-employment – it doesn’t always swiftly fall into place and leave you with million$! It requires courage; it requires discipline; it requires application of your skills. But if you make that transition and spend your working years doing what you love, retirement becomes a non-issue. Only ability determines when to stop, when to leave off, when to quit.
Meanwhile, a purpose-driven livelihood, no matter how big or small your success is, can never undermine your identity or self-esteem. You are the winner, and you can keep going doing what you do for the love of it, into your later years, as much or as little as you choose. We can call this semi-retirement. But really it should have a different title altogether because the person who works at what he/she loves segues into the latter years as a very different type than what we usually call “retired” or “semi-retired”. This is a goal worth pursuing.
Judi Thomases is a contributing blogger for JenningsWire online magazine.
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