When we were kids, we didn’t want to get old. Maybe we wanted to be “grown up,” but we didn’t really want to be “old.”
Depending on when you were born, you may have associated the elderly with certain smells, hairstyles, and an inability to walk up the stairs. While you’re far from needing the elevator at age 55 or 60, your retirement years may feel like the beginning of getting older. What can you expect? After all, when you were a kid, you probably didn’t cherish the thought of getting dentures.
Even as adults, there may be a hesitancy about aging. Isn’t getting old the beginning of the end? We wonder what life will bring us as we age, and it’s legitimate to fear harder seasons ahead.
When your children have moved out, your job is over, and you’re faced with your retirement years, what is ahead? And is it good?
The answer to these questions is, resoundingly, “Yes,” and there’s research to prove it. People in their retirement years report the highest levels of happiness, and it makes sense. Once you hit a certain age, you’re able to live life differently, and the result is good. People in their golden years tend to:
- spend time with family
- enjoy community
- work less
- pass on wisdom
Pass on Wisdom
The wisdom that comes with years isn’t a fable, and by the time you hit your late 60s and 70s, you’ll have gleaned a lot of insight along the way. According to the insight of Father Richard Rohr, there are two halves of life, and becoming an “elder” (as recognized by so many ancient societies) is a change of focus you can expect as you age. Your wisdom not only helps you navigate your own life, it helps you pass on that wisdom to others.
Once you retire, you no longer deal with the pressure and stress of a job. While you’ll have to find other ways to fill your time, your schedule can be filled with relaxation and hobbies. If your work weighed down your days, your new freedom can elevate your happiness.
When you’re no longer working, you have the freedom to travel. You can finally visit Ireland, spend your winters in Florida, or explore Henry County, Georgia. The chance to see the world is another reason retirement age is so enjoyable.
Many people in their golden years find joy in community life. In 55 and over communities, they enjoy the companionship of new friends, the ease of upkeep, and the many activities retirement communities provide. When someone else is planting your gardens, mowing your lawns, and caring for your sidewalks for you, you’re able to enjoy the benefits that community life brings.
Spend Time with Family
If you have a family, then your retirement years allow you the chance to be there for them. Many people in their golden years resolve any ruffled feathers between them and their children, spend quality time with their grandchildren, and drink deeply of the gift of familial community.
Between these five gifts, it’s easy to see why retirement age is referred to as the “golden years.” In some ways, it’s a reward for a life well lived. In other ways, it’s the beginning of a brand new season, with plenty more to experience and enjoy.