You see a lot being written these days about retiring the word retirement these days because traditional full-stop retirement doesn’t work for most people anymore. Retirement offers a more positive opportunity for people to enjoy a “second life”.
Due to increasing longevity, out of necessity, there is a reinvention of retirement taking place right before our eyes and we are seeing the development of new hybrid forms of retirement today many of which contain a work component.
Renaming retirement: “Second Life”
People are coming up with all kinds of interesting names to describe the change that is happening using words such as “re-wirement” “reinvention” and “reboot.”
They all work but I felt the need to come up with something simple something that would clearly differentiate this period of living and I finally settled on the term “second life.”
Our second life begins when we achieve some level of financial independence and decide to leave our primary career behind or maybe that decision is made for you like it was for me by my employer.
In our second life, we connect with who we truly are again.
I used to believe what they told us about aging – that a person’s most productive age was in their 20s or 30s, but I don’t believe that anymore. Based on my own personal experiences and what I see other successful “second lifers” do I now believe our most productive and creative period starts when we leave full-time work behind between the ages of 60 and 70 and this productivity and creativity can continue into our 70’s, 80’s and even 90’s if we know the rules and play our cards right.
What I love about my second life is that the stress is gone. I no longer waste time comparing myself to others because it doesn’t matter to me anymore. The never-ending climb up the corporate ladder is finally over and I feel a sense of inner peace and calm from being back in control of things. I don’t compete with others anymore only myself. I’m smarter than I’ve ever been and I constantly look for new things to learn and experience. I have the wisdom that years bring and I have more options than ever before.
I still work part-time but it’s not for the money but rather for the meaning and pleasure that my chosen work gives me. I feel more connected than I ever have with family, and friends, and things that matter to me. I’m finally being authentic and it feels good to live like that let me tell you.
Don’t believe the myths about aging
Many people believe that when they turn “65” they automatically turn old which isn’t true. Biological age can vary considerably from chronological age so a person’s age is a rather meaningless number unless you are applying for social security.
Most of the retirees I hang around with are not frail and helpless. Some become that way because they live alone, don’t exercise, don’t eat healthily, don’t have a purpose in their lives, and don’t have much in the way of money.
Switching back to adventure mode
In our second life, we need to switch back from “survival mode” to “adventure mode” and become “beginners” again so we can stretch ourselves and experience life to its fullest.
Join a beginners class and learn to bake bread, ski, do magic tricks, do improv, speak Spanish, travel the world – whatever interests you and can challenge your brain.
Whatever you pick enjoy it and don’t take it too seriously
Nobody is looking. Like I did you will find things you didn’t know you would be good at – but how could you have never tried.
Using myself as an example – since “retiring” I’ve written two books, became a blogger, a longevity lifestyle designer, and a public speaker which is interesting because I could never do any of those things before.
Now that the new book is behind me my plan is to make the next ten years of my second life the best and most existing 10 years that I’ve ever lived. I’ve signed up for my own attempt at Ironman in Nov 2022, and after that, I plan on visiting my son in Australia and getting into a shark cage, and taking a picture of a great white up close.
How’s that for getting old and I’m just getting started. Just remember you are never too old to learn, you are never too old to try something new.
*This article was originally published on Booming Encore and has been republished with permission
About the author
Mike Drak is the Author of the best-selling book Victory Lap Retirement and Retirement Heaven or Hell – Which Will You Choose. Along with being an Author, Mike is also an award-winning blogger, retirement coach, and public speaker and has made appearances on BNN, CBC Radio, and iHeart radio. He is a thirty-eight year veteran of the financial services industry and lives with his wife Melina in Toronto, Canada.