Retirement and the “Busy Ethic”Dr. Jim Collins
When asked “What keeps you happy during your retirement”, many people may respond “I stay busy”. While there are those who will want to relax and take it easy, millions or retirees find satisfaction and happiness in maintaining a busy and active lifestyle. But, it’s not good enough to just stay busy. Retirement can be fulfilling through remaining busy in meaningful and purposeful ways.
In general, staying busy can mean being active, engaged and having variety in later life. How many retirees do you know who are busier now than when they were fully employed? Many retired people report they are busier in their retirement, but that the quality of their activity is different. Unlike being fully employed, they can now do the things that bring them the most joy and fulfillment. They have more control over what they wish to fill their time with.
Research shows that older adults who are retired and maintain a busy lifestyle tend to have a better memory and are cognitively healthier than retirees who slow down, are less busy and have idle lifestyles. Personal goals can be pursued without the pressure of other commitments. In this way, it appears that the busy ethic after retirement has its benefits.
Retirement can also be a time of change and reorganizing priorities. It offers individuals time to reflect on what is most important at this stage of life. Some individuals will feel the need to find a new path. Others may feel compelled to maintain rigorous schedules because that is what they need to remain happy and satisfied.
The bottom line is to live life after retirement in ways that maximize happiness, joy, purpose and meaning. Remain curious to the world around you and don’t stop discovering new and adventurous paths.