Don’t get me wrong – I really like my job. I get a chance to help and educate people who are struggling through some difficult times, and it’s very rewarding. However, when I was kid I never thought to myself, “Hmmm, when I grow up I want to work in the long-term care industry or talk to people about coordinating care and services for an ill or aging loved one.” Nope, I wanted to be a fireman, a veterinarian, and then a professional football player. Well, those dreams eventually faded. My aversion to getting injured or dying, put a real damper on firefighting. Being a vet? Well, I’m more of an animal “liker” not lover. And a pro football player, ha, that was never going to happen! But one thing that remained consistent was my artistic side. However, I never really followed that dream either. Then I grew up, and reality set in. For most of us, marriage, a mortgage, bills, children, and the daily grind often dash any chance of achieving those personal dreams and passions. Plus, I don’t think I could have made it as a starving artist. But recently I have seen some possibilities on the horizon.
As we age, “most of us” tend to mature. We also start to reflect back on our lives while also thinking about the journey ahead. That changes a bit over time and is different for everyone; however for me, my role as Coach and my experiences working with older adults has begun to alter how I view retirement and getting older. I’ve written previously about staying “Actively Engaged and Making a Difference” and also made the promise to myself to stay active and involved after I retire. It has become very evident to me that a sedentary retirement is bad for your health. Less active, less fit persons have a greater risk of developing high blood pressure and coronary artery disease. Lack of physical activity can also contribute to feelings of anxiety and depression and may even increase the risk of certain cancers. The obvious way to combat these health issues is to exercise and eat right. This might be an option for some people. But another option is to combine activity, engagement, and alas incorporating those dreams and/or passions that we may have extinguished or buried when real life came along and took it all away.
What I am referring to are terms I have used in the past which are becoming more and more mainstream. I am talking about an encore or second career. So you have reached that stage in life where you have retired from that rat race and have begun to relax a bit, maybe vacation and travel a bit, but soon you ask yourself, “now what?” In his book Prime Time, Mark Freedman advocates the idea of “re-engagement of activity” instead of a “retirement of leisure.” This is when a second career or second act can fill a void, rekindle an old passion or even open a path to whole new one.
A second act or career can include civic engagement, volunteering, mentoring and lastly working! Wait – isn’t that why you retired? Possibly, if you are referring to a lifelong career or occupation, but when it comes to that encore period it’s now about working for enjoyment to stay active and engaged, and ah, making some spending MONEY! I cannot wait for my opportunity for a part-time job or passion that I can thoroughly enjoy and earn a paycheck that doesn’t have to feed a family of four, pay tuition or a mortgage. Oh the possibilities. On the other hand, starting an encore career may be a necessity to pay off those debts or simply to live on, but the other benefits of working still remain, especially if it’s something you enjoy.
Consider your options looking forward. What’s something you enjoyed doing as a kid or as a hobby? Is it something that could provide a small income? Attached is link to an article from US News and World Report “14 Ways Retirees are Making Money.” See if any of these ideas sound good to you.What will your “re-engagement of activity” with a little cash flow look like? Share your thoughts or story about a second act or encore career. We would love to hear about it.