Living Our Best Lives Now and In the Future

Living Our Best Lives – Part 6One of my dear friends has been very busy running a business and teaching part-time at a college. At seventy, she’s hoping to sell her business to free up some of her time. While she still plans to teach because it is deeply satisfying for her, she also intends to explore some of her own interests including possibly learning how to tap dance. It's time for all of us to start thinking about how we can live our best lives now and in the future.It’s Time to Explore PossibilitiesOnce we enter our fifties, we…

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An Optimistic Attitude Could Lead to a Longer Life

I’ve read a few articles recently about how optimism is generally associated with longer life. One of the articles explained that optimists tend to have lower stress levels and feel more “empowered to overcome hurdles.” I think of myself as a pragmatic optimist. I’m not a ‘Pollyanna,’ and I do try to anticipate situations that could become problems and plan for them. Still, I usually try to look for the rays of sunshine when I see clouds on the horizon. Now having said this, I’ll confess that I’ve had periods when I was less than a ‘sunny’ presence—especially when I…

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Social Connections Matter

Part 5 – Social Connections MatterWhen we are still employed, it is often our co-workers who are our go-to lunch companions or after-work ‘wine and whine’ friends. We may feel close to some of these individuals, but once we leave our careers, most of those connections we enjoyed usually fade away rather quickly. Yet social connections matter!Longevity and retirement research emphasize the importance of social connections for our mental and physical well-being. And while women tend to develop social networks a bit more easily than some men do, it usually takes some effort and planning for most all people to…

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Good Health: One of Our Most Valuable Assets

Yesterday I got some good news when I visited my doctor; she told me that she couldn’t detect any sign of a heart arrhythmia I had developed three months prior to retiring. If my work had permanently compromised my health, I would have lost one of my most valuable assets. My plan was to work until I was seventy; I had some financial ‘catching up’ to do before I figured retirement could be a realistic option. I entered the workforce after my children started school. When I was in my mid-forties, I became a statistic – another ‘gray divorce statistic.…

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Beyond Stereotypical Assumptions

This summer, my husband and I had the opportunity to spend individual time with three of our grandsons. Each boy stayed with us for a couple of activity-filled days. Our special guests were 7, 9, and 9; yes, the last two grandchildren to visit are twins. When one of our neighbors asked the last to visit if he was an identical twin, he said, “We aren’t identical. In fact, we couldn’t be more different.” His point applies to everyone: See each of us as the unique individuals we really are; don’t make stereotypical assumptions. Each Younger Person is a Unique…

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Freedom to Choose Your Best Life

Part 4 – Freedom to Choose: Last week we focused on identifying what was most important to each of us (Part 3). We discussed core values, individual beliefs, and the behaviors that ideally reflect our values and beliefs. This week we will be creating a vision for what we might want our retirement years to ‘look like.’Choosing What We Really Want Isn’t Always EasyMany people think they know exactly what they want after they leave their full-time careers. Often people will say they want to relax, travel, and enjoy themselves. Other people think they’ll be happy to have enough time to…

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Gender Differences: Aging & Retirement

Does your sex or gender make a difference when planning for the end of your career and beyond? I’ve spent more than three years reviewing the literature on retirement and aging. I also became a certified retirement coach last year. Even though I’ve seen some articles and read books that talked specifically about how gender affects our ‘ever-after’ life, I believe some of the differences based on sex and gender need to be examined more closely.In the coming weeks and months, I'll be adding additional topics, new links, and more information about areas where gender or sex could make a…

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The Unhealthy Myth of Self-Reliance as We Age

Ashton Applewhite, author of This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism, argues that our cultural myth of rugged individualism serves us poorly as we age. I am learning first-hand how the myth of self-reliance can limit us in surprising ways. I am a planner. I think ahead and try to anticipate what kinds of preparations I need to make for the future. Prior to ending my career in education, I planned what I wanted my life to ‘look like’ once I was in charge of my own time. I read just about everything I could locate on how to successfully…

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What Really Matters: Part 3

Part 3 - Planning for the Gift of Time: Discovering What Really MattersIn Part 2, we focused on the concerns we might have about retirement. This week we’re going to explore what matters most to us as we consider how we want to use the gift of time. For many of us, it is hard to figure out what really matters most until we deeply tap into our authentic selves.Aristotle once said, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” As mature adults, it might be easy to assume that no one knows us better than we know ourselves, right?…

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Planning for the Gift of Time: Part 2

Part 2: How Will You Use the Gift of Time? Last week (Part 1), we talked about the fact that people 50+ could have literally decades of living yet to do. We have the opportunity to look ahead and do things of our own choosing – things that really matter to us. We also talked about the fact that our ‘gift of time’ does have an expiration date. We cannot just let it sit unwrapped on a shelf – we need to open it and use it. By identifying what matters to us and the lifestyle choices we are currently…

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