DAVE BERNARDKeeping ActiveOur 75 million strong baby boomer generation has begun its gradual migration into the ranks of retirement. Each day for the next twenty years 10,000 will reach the age of sixty five, the historical mark to begin retired living. Finally after long years of working to pay the bills and meet our obligations, of raising families and facing unexpected challenges from all sides, we have earned the right to switch gears into retirement, to begin our second act. Our time has come to do what we want to do when we want to do it. All of those interests held at bay while focused on careers can now rise to the surface for us to pursue.

And so we jump happily into our new life anxious to make up for lost time. We zero in on that to-do list that has grown to monstrous proportions and whittle it down joyfully completing projects and chores post haste. That exotic trip we have forever dreamed of can at long last be put on the calendar and away we go. We finally have the time to catch up with friends and family spending quality time together outside of just special occasions. For that first year or thereabouts, we are busy, engaged, and happily pursuing a retired life that is just what we had been hoping for.

However it is often the case that not too far into our retired life we suddenly come to that first bump in the road. After that initial honeymoon period of retirement during which we generally completed a good portion of those things we had planned, we now find ourselves at a loss. What to do next? This is our time to finally live the life we have always wanted to live but what does that actually look like? Everyone dreams of relaxing, exiting the working world rat race and basically taking it all down a notch. But if that is the extent of our planning for retired life we can find ourselves ill-prepared, quickly bored, despondent and even depressed. That is not the kind of retirement anyone hopes for.

The importance of planning and preparing ahead of time for the life we want to live in retirement cannot be overstressed. And it’s not just about financial planning. We all know it is critical to have our finances in order if we hope to live that fulfilling retirement – that is basic retirement planning 101. However it is equally important to prepare for the non-financial aspects. Realizing that the average retiree at age sixty five can hope for twenty to thirty years of retirement life, what will we do to stay engaged and active over the coming years? Where will we find meaning in the way we spend our day? Sure relaxing and taking it easy is great in its place. But I doubt many will be satisfied if at the end of each day they have done nothing meaningful.

The key to sustaining a meaningful and fulfilling retirement life is to discover what you are most passionate about and pursue it. What is it that drives you, inspires you, empowers you and ultimately gives meaning and purpose beyond merely existing? What is it that gets you out of bed and anxious to take on each new day? Since you can now theoretically do whatever you want to do, what do you choose?

It may sound simple but surprisingly few are fortunate enough to have discovered their individual driving passion. But when you stop to think about it what could be more important? Can there be any better way to spend your time than doing what you most love to do?

As retirees or retirees-to-be the time to begin our search is now. An incredible, inspiring, exciting and fulfilling second act awaits us if we spend our time wisely in pursuit of what we love most. For each of us the journey has already begun and we have no time to waste!

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