What I Learned from My Workshop

On April 24th I had the good fortune to lead a one-day workshop on Preparing for Retirement.  To my surprise, I had many people signed up who are well into their retirement years–and to an observer like me–they seem to be doing very well.  However, I was surprised and pleased to learn that what I had to offer was enriching for these retirees.  Most people have never conceptualized the “life they will love to live” because all the emphasis is on the “money they need to put away.”  If you Google “preparing for retirement,” you will find that 95% will be all about finances, insurance and Social Security.  That is only part of the picture.

In order to have a dynamic “third chapter,” there is an ongoing need to identify our passions, become clear about our goals, and set about bringing these into physical reality.   It is good for us retirees to know that we are not finished making our contribution to the world.  Society needs the knowledge, experience, and wisdom that we have to offer. Would it not be wrong to let ourselves stagnate, thus diminishing our health and shortening our lives?  To quote the poet Mary Oliver, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”   Successful retirees continue to ask and answer this question throughout all their years.

Book Recommendation

I have been delving into books that educate me about the “second half of life,” “third chapter,” Adulthood II, i.e. the retirement years.  I will occasionally make a recommendation of a book I found particularly enlightening.  This book is one of my favorites:

Cohen, Gene D. The Creative Age: Awakening Human Potential in the Second Half of Life.  Quill HarperCollins  2000.

For those who think that retirement is the beginning of the end, this book is for you.  Cohen makes it clear the aging is perhaps the very best time for creativity to emerge.  He starts with the biology of the brain, showing that, whatever losses come with age, the brain still has the plasticity and the ability to create new pathways in response to environment and behavior.  In fact, older members of society have a wealth of experience that provides rich creative contributions to our world.  The book is filled with examples of people who have made major cultural contributions after age 65.  He also provides many examples of how ordinary people can creatively live their lives at any age.  This fascinating book encourages us to live life fully.

A Bit of Levity


Been getting a little serious with my posts.  Maybe we would like to “screw around” once we get some freedom from the responsibility of a full time job.  There is room for some spontaneous fun—but it that all there is, it will get BORING!!

Purposeful Living

Did you know that every single day 10,000 people retire in the USA? I wonder how many have made careful plans for their future beyond the financial considerations. What will be the focus of the next 20 years? Some people report going into a funk after a long-awaited vacation. Now what do I do? Others quickly get bored because there is no challenge. Staying busy is not enough for those who want their lives to mean something. What we need is “purpose,” something that gets us out of bed in the morning and helps us organize our days. Those with purpose are the happiest and healthiest people!

Living our life intentions

Having two years of retirement from my full-time career under my belt, one of the things I find most beneficial is flexibility in my schedule.  I have just had the experience of having a family member in a health crisis far from home.  With some calls and emails, I was able to rearrange my scheduled appointments to be able to drive 1,000 to bring her home from the hospital.  If I were working, I would have been torn between my responsibilities at work and my commitment to my extended family.

Retirement allows me to live out my life intentions beyond being a successful professional.  Other intentions include being a loving family member and friend.  It is a joy and privilege to be able to do this without angst about compromising my work life.  I know this is ONE of the reasons that retirement is such a blessing.

Adding another phase to the life cycle

Life expectancy has increased significantly since we baby boomers were born!  It is now 78 years–but for those of us who make it to 65, on average we will have another twenty years.  That means we are going to get mighty bored if we don’t figure out how to use this time in a meaningful way.

Some authors are exploring this additional life phase and trying to name  it.  Is it the second half of life, the third chapter, adulthood II,  the encore of life or just a long retirement?    Whatever we name, I am convinced it has the potential to be the BEST part of our lives if we plan it thoughtfully.

If you are wondering how to start planning an awesome retirement and live in the Omaha or Dubuque area, you may consider attending one of my seminars.  See details if you click on the sidebar on this page.