Several of us from our 55 and over community walked over to the hospital to have breakfast and talk. Someone spoke about how their life went in directions they didn’t plan or imagine. We all agreed. Our lives also took unexpected twists and turns to arrive at where we are today. Here are a few of the thoughts we shared and discussed.
If life were a video game, we could control the trajectory of our journey. We could decide how fast or how slow we complete our goals. However, life is not like a video game. Randomness shapes our lives more than we like to think. Life also isn’t fair. Bad things can happen—and to good people, no less. Sometimes, disappointments turn out to be blessings in disguise.
Luck is random and arbitrary. We can’t control who it smiles upon or when or why. All we can do is try and make the best possible decisions. Those make a much bigger difference than our luck—or lack thereof.
I’m sure all the control freaks out there let out a collective gasp. Sadly, it’s true. My friends and I agreed. As you retire and reflect on things, you start to you don’t know everything. In fact, you aren’t even sure of everything. This isn’t a bad thing. It’s just one of those facts of life we’re better off accepting than ignoring.
For many of us, retirement was a relief. And yet, some of us may have also floundered. A loss of purpose often comes with retirement. Yes, retirement represents the end of an era. But we shouldn’t look at it as a closed book, merely a new chapter. Decisions about our careers are over, but we still want the best life for us and our loved ones. Redirect your focus and energy to your family and hobbies. Find other meaningful ways to fill your time. Soon enough, you won’t miss your career at all.
Even though we can’t control the outcome, we can do things to reduce our risks in retirement. For example, it’s never too late to start budgeting and live as if—well—you’re on a fixed income. Even if you don’t have a retirement savings account, it’s never too late to open one! Choose your investments carefully. Seek the counsel of a financial advisor. Spend your money wisely. You’ll have a much less stressful retirement if you control what you can.
I’ve heard more than one person recently talk about not taking overseas trips. While I don’t think we should live our lives in a bubble, be aware of the increased risks to tourists these days. Senior travel experts recommend travel insurance and medical jet insurance for a reason! Consumers Advocate.org is a great resource for senior travelers.
Here are some other things I think seniors should avoid:
Personally, I recommend moving to an active adult community. You can enjoy one-story living, an abundance of neighbors, on-site exercise facilities, and a built-in support system. All of these may improve your physical and mental condition and, in turn, your health. Most of all, try not to stress about what you can control. Accept that life in and of itself is a risk but avoid the ones you can. Most of all, live life to the fullest.
That, my friends, might be the best risk of all.
Originally published September 21, 2023