The comfort zone – part 3

A few people have reached that elusive comfort zone where their income from assets, pensions, and Social Security is sufficient to support them without their needing to work for a living. There will always some who will achieve this state and live a relatively carefree life, but for many the achievement of this final goal marks the end of a great game and they do not flourish in a retired state.

If you view a healthy retirement as endless rounds of golf, Bridge, tennis, and cruises, I think you would be disappointed. Everyone needs a break from endless stress, but retirement can pall, just like a too-long vacation. If you are not producing anything of value, life gets very boring. Furthermore, you become much less important to everyone else and your communication lines wither away.

Men and women are as important as they can be of service to others. The happiest retirees seem to be those who actively help others. I live in a community where many thousands of the residents are well past retirement age and the happiest of these spend their days doing projects that enhance the lives of others.

These projects can include fine art or craftwork, but they can also include social activities that enrich the community living experience. We have craft fairs several times a year and I am always amazed at the beautiful work done by many self-taught residents. I am equally impressed with the organizing ability that goes into the many weekly activities that take place in this community of 8000 people. I would venture to say that the bulk of the organizing and craft work is done by those of retirement age.

In summary, there is never a point when one should stop striving for a meaningful life. You will stay physically and emotionally healthy longer if you are constantly looking for ways to help others. Your outflow of help, if done appropriately, will result in an inflow of gratification and enlightenment. It can also create income for you.

It all comes down to finding out what others need that you are willing to supply, and supplying it. All you have to do is find out what is needed and wanted. People will tell you. Just don’t make the mistake of assuming that your help is needed.

Supplying help that is unwanted is a waste of your time and is annoying to others. There is no need to get into this unfortunate situation. Help those who need your help and appreciate your help. There are plenty of those people and you will find this activity to be extremely rewarding.

Any of my retired readers care to comment? Anna Mae? Don? Judy? Harold?

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0 Responses to The comfort zone – part 3

  1. David:

    I’ve always thought the word “retirement” is incorrect. One can achieve financial independence and still find productive ways to spend their time. When Amy and I realized we had the resources to move to the country and not worry about making a living our goal was not to “retire” but to “refocus” our energies into areas that satisfied both our desires for creativity and our goal of giving something back to a life that had been generous with us.

    Although relaxation was part of the plan it has been the most elusive. We’re both busier now than we’ve ever been in our lives. But the exhaustion brings with it a fulfilment.

    Who has time to retire?

  2. I like the idea of refocusing, rather than retiring.

    I can see it now: “My refocusment package begins with a two-year course in fine arts, digital photography and creative journalism at my local college. Then I start my free-lance media consulting career.”

    Way to go!

  3. colleen says:

    I think at a certain age our lives are ripened. Don’t waste the fruit or let it spoil…use it, I say.

  4. Don Evans says:

    DEAR DAVID,
    I READ WITH GREAT INTEREST. YOUR ARTICLE ON RETIREMENT. I SPEAK FOR MYSELF, BUT I THINK I CAN ALSO SPEAK FOR ANNA MAE, WHEN I SAY THAT NEITHER ONE OF US HAS SLIPPED INTO THE SITUATIONS THAT YOU SPEAK OF.

    I MUST ADMIT THAT MY DUTIES AND PROJECTS ARE NOT GOING TO SAVE ANYTHING ON THIS PLANET, BUT HAVE SO FAR HELD MY INTEREST AND TEND TO KEEP ME BUSY. THE INTEREST THAT I SPEAK OF ARE HOW TO PREVENT THE “POA ANNUA GRASS” FROM TAKING OVER MY LAWN, PURSUING THE EVER ELUSIVE HOLE IN ONE, AND TRYING TO BREAK “50” FOR NINE HOLES. AND IF YOU OR YOUR READERS COULD OFFER ME ANY ADVICE ON HOW TO ACCOMPLISH ANY OF THE ABOVE I WOULD SURE APPRECIATE IT VERY MUCH.

    AS YOU CAN SEE FROM THE ABOVE, IT DOES NOT TAKE VERY MUCH TO KEEP MY INTEREST GOING, BUT I STILL HAVE A HARD TIME SOME DAYS TO FIND ENOUGH TIME TO DO ALL THINGS THAT I WANT TO DO. I FORGOT TO MENTION IN THE ABOVE LIST THAT I AM STILL PLAYING THE PIANO, TAKE LESSONS ONCE A WEEK AND PRACTICE EVERYDAY TO TRY AND IMPROVE.

    I ALSO TRY TO HELP OUT WITH DIFFERENT SITUATIONS THAT ARISE WITH MY FAMILY, AND FIND THAT VERY REWARDING.

    YOUR FRIENDS IN FUQUAY VARINA,NC
    DON & ANNA MAE

  5. Interesting semantics. About five years ago, a number of my young friends (late twenties to early thirties) and I started using “retirement” to describe our decision to drop out of the careerist mode of working. Most of us were in a situation where financial independence was not in sight. We were a little to cynical to use the boomerish term “right livelihood” and just a few years too old to catch dot-com fever!

    What retirement implied was refusing to let paying work take center stage by default. At center stage, we put the real life-work goals. As supporting and supplemental questions, we put the ongoing questions “how do I support myself”, “how do I support myself without displacing my goals”, and “can I make money organically from my life-work”? For the most part, we were all working as bodyworkers and pursuing artistic endeavors. That lifestyle lent itself to smooth integration of schedule, paid work, and nonpaid work and facilitated our meeting and speaking intimately with people in a broad range of careers and work situations.

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