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Living With Joy and Purpose After Retirement

Retirement is something we look forward to, yet also dread, as it means aging. It’s kind of like having a baby. You want to enjoy the baby, but the passage can be a bit painful! “Career Development” should go on forever.  And, when aging, it means adjusting to a life with hours and hours of free time is enjoyable for a few days, but when you’ve cleaned the house, mowed the lawn, filled the bird feeders and waxed the car—it’s time to find something more meaningful to do.  Philanthropy beckons!

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Enjoy Life

If I were to advise others on how to really enjoy life, I think I would say to grab hold of life with both hands. Stay active, fit and busy and you’ll be healthy and happy for many decades to come. Nothing illustrates that better than this joke. (Warning: it’s a bit randy!)

Silvio, an 80-year-old Italian gentleman went to see his new doctor for a check-up. The doctor is amazed at what good shape the guy is in and asks: “How do you stay in such great physical condition?”

“I’m Italian and I’m an avid golfer,” Silvio replied, “and that’s why I’m in such good shape. I wake up well before daylight and I’m out walking the fairways, I’m a walking golfer. I have a glass of wine afterward.”

“Well,” the doctor replied, “I’m sure that helps but there’s got to be more to it. How old was your father when he died?”

“Who said my father’s dead,” Silvio asked.

The doctor is amazed. “You mean you’re 80 years old and your father is still alive? How old is he?

“He’s 100,” said Silvio. “In fact he played golf with me this morning and then we went to a topless beach for a walk and had a little wine and that’s why he’s alive. He’s Italian, and he’s a golfer too.”

“Well,” the doctor said, “that’s great but I’m sure there’s more to it than that. How about your father’s father? How old was he when he died?”

“Who said my Nonno’s dead,” Silvio responded.

Stunned, the doctor asks: “You mean you’re 80 and your grandfather’s still living? Incredible. How old is he?”

“He’s 118 years old,” Silvio replied.

The doctor was beside himself at this point. “So I guess he went golfing with you this morning too?”

“No, no,” Silvio answered, “he couldn’t go this morning because he’s getting married today.”

At that, the doctor was close to losing it. “Getting married? Why would a 118-year-old guy want to get married?”

Silvio grinned a sly grin and said:

“Who said he wanted to get married?”

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Go Outside and Play

One of the worst things you can do for your body and mind is sit around all day looking at the walls or the television. It’s imperative to stay busy, and the best way to do that is to have fun!

Stephen Jepson is a 75-year-old entrepreneur who owns his own publishing company and produces videos that teach people how to increase their agility, vigor and brain power through play.

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As he explains on his website, NeverLeaveThePlayground, “We no longer have to move to survive. We can go to our refrigerator to get food. Most of our lives are sedentary. We sit to drive, work, watch TV and movies, and play with our gadgets. By not moving, we become mentally and physically sluggish. Our creativity diminishes, and our bodies begin to die a little at a time through lack of use. Modern medicine works overtime to keep us healthy and negate the effects of inertia on the body and mind.”

Healthful Benefits of Play

Jepson points out that as we age we tend to become more sedentary, and by losing ownership of our agility and sense of balance, we become more prone to falls and broken bones. He also reminds us that vigorous, playful exercise pumps more fresh oxygen into our bloodstreams, keeping us healthy and mentally alert.

In his video Never Leave the Playground, below, Jepson demonstrates 70 different physical games and tasks that will challenge your body and brain.

 

 When asked what his personal favorites were, he replied, “I find it all stimulating! But this year, I’m going to learn to kite sail. Last year, I learned to juggle three clubs, and this year I’m learning to juggle four, and while doing it balanced on a Bongo Board! Plus I’m learning to punch a speed bag. I feel very, very youthful, and I’ll be 75 on my next birthday.” Jepson has also designed his own custom roller skates and skateboard.

Find Creative Outlets

Many people earn viable incomes through online or home-based businesses. There is a plethora of ways to make money and live a good life! I’ve met dog walkers, nannies, professional athletes, teachers during their summer vacations, government workers with great pensions, bartenders, strippers, bouncers, tennis teachers, coffee shop owners, and a host of small business owners who enjoy a lot of freedom during the day.

It’s inspiring to realize that you can have complete creative control over your own business and your life! Set your own hours, and spend time doing what you love.

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Live With Purpose

There are studies that show death comes quicker after retirement due to a lack of purpose. However, all that statistic really demonstrates is that people can literally die of boredom. One of the most wonderful things about retirement is that you are now free to engage in deeply rewarding activities–things that bring hope, comfort and smiles to other people (and animals). There’s just nothing as rewarding as hearing people say “thank you” every day and truly mean it. Try volunteering at a charity or mentoring a child if you start feeling aimless. Everyone can use a helping hand now and then.

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GoodWorld.me  and their 700+ charities make finding your purpose in the world of charitable giving simple.  GoodWorld is a site designed to make it easier for donors to contribute to their favorite volunteer organization, and if your particular cause isn’t listed, GoodWorld has a straightforward, uncomplicated way to add the charity of your choice, thereby taking advantage of crowdfunding so anything near and dear to your personal cause gets the attention they deserve.  GoodWorld’s hashtag donation function (#donate) has revolutionized charitable giving, according to “The Washington Post.”  And, President Barack Obama praised GoodWorld as an “outstanding opportunity,” for philanthropy.  Your helping hand can now be viral!

Catchafire.org is a site that connects professionals with non-profits in need of expertise, so if you have experience in law, accounting, human resources, journalism or any number of other fields, Catchafire can match you up with non-profits that desperately need your help.

CNN’s tongue in cheek review of CatchAFire.org, says “alleviate your soul-crushing guilt by giving back,” and sign up for a a service that will match you up with a social good organization based on your skills — whatever they may be.

GreatNonProfits.org is another site that lets you view reviews and ratings for non-profits in your area. You can easily find a non-profit that is a perfect fit for you.

After retirement, we can remain engaged, purposeful, and stimulated by exploring new activities, and even new ways of living. Don’t be afraid to get out there and live like an Italian grandpa, because both Silvio and Nonna are still going strong!

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