Most of us are looking forward to retirement. When that day finally arrives, what’s next?
Do you know someone who has recently retired and is struggling with lack of purpose?
How do you make the rest of your life meaningful and impactful?
Bestselling author Ken Blanchard of The One Minute Manager and psychologist Dr. Morton Shaevitz don’t believe in chance meetings. When they met on a flight from San Diego to New York, the two discussed the issues of aging. Instead of the “best years are behind us” approach they decided to write a book about making life in your later years more meaningful than ever.
I recently had the opportunity to talk with Dr. Morton Shaevitz about the new book Refire! Don’t Retire: Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life.
Many people think “retirement” is the happy destination. Your new bookRefire! Don’t Retire gives different advice. What does it mean to refire?
Refiring is a process where the primary focus is not on career advancement, financial gain, or specific types of achievements, but rather, healthy living, warm and significant relationships, continued learning and cognitive growth, vitality and meaningful involvement, and the development of a personal sense of spirituality. Retiring suggests shutting down. Refiring means engaging in life.
- You start with “refiring emotionally.” Why is that first?
There isn’t any particular reason this was first, but being socially isolated has been shown to contribute to emotional and physical decline. So that makes it a good jumping off point. Identifying those people who are meaningful in our lives, building stronger connections, reaching out to new people, opening up, and getting close can also sometimes help to establish a good foundational support system for your refiring process.
- Refiring intellectually. Is this overlooked as we age?
I wouldn’t say that it’s overlooked, but it’s far too easy to stay in your comfort zone instead of venturing out into uncharted territory. Vital to the intellectual refiring process is putting yourself in new and challenging situations, being open to change, moving out of your intellectual comfort zone, and moving into areas where you may be initially less capable. For example, an engineer might take a pottery class or an artist might learn about how to manage people.
- Refiring physically. This one is the obvious one because it seems, at every age, we know how important it is to exercise. Is it only a matter of getting more active?
Yes, but on a regular and consistent basis. You have to take a serious look at where you are, where you’d like to be, what is needed to achieve your desired results, and how far/hard do you want to push yourself? It doesn’t take much to get the suggested amount of exercise. Just 30-45 minutes of brisk walking 5-6 times per week will keep you ahead of the curve. If that strategy works for you and you enjoy it, go for it! It’s just a matter of what you would like to accomplish, finding an activity that’s fun and works for you, and getting after it day after day.
- Refiring spiritually is the fourth key. Some people ignore spiritual matters in books like this, but you don’t. What’s your view?
Don’t ignore it! Each of us was raised in a different type of spiritual culture whether it was organized religion, agnosticism, or atheism. As life continues, each person needs to come to terms with his/her concept of spirituality. Once you have a better idea of where you are or want to be, take appropriate action to actualize that concept.
How do you help others refire?
By example and encouragement—ultimately it’s up to you!Refire! Don’t Retire: Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life