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Refilling Your Social Life in a Fulfilling Retirement

February 8, 2019 by  
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The great thing about regular work or a job is that it gives you a good reason to get out of bed each morning and get going, and it is very important when you retire is to set something up that replaces that for you. One way to do that, as I mentioned in last week’s post, is put yourself to work in a way that can better the world.

As you push yourself to get involved with a charity, or whatever it is that you choose, you will find that you can replace what your work gave you in terms of structure and routine with the activities of your new mission. This will give you something to get you out of bed but, just as important, that structure and routine will also give you a new social aspect to your life.

Most of us develop a significant social life that revolves around work, but then, when we retire, this is often lost. So, getting involved in a charity or other organization can replace what you are missing when you leave your job or no longer work. It will do all that while you do a little something to make the world a better place.

Most of us humans really don’t realize how very important our social contacts are until they disappear or are greatly diminished when we retire. It’s not that you won’t know those same people or continue to have great friendships with some of them, but when you’re no longer working together, you are suddenly not nearly as involved in each other’s lives and you don’t see each other nearly so often. Most people will greatly miss the regular social contact if they do not replace it with another purposeful and regular activity that also involves time connecting and interacting with other people.

Each of us will have our own plan but here is what I plan on doing to push myself to create a new routine, structure, and source of social connections in my life that will make me get out of bed every morning and look forward to the day: I would like to teach grade school, high school, and university students in classes on writing, marketing, public speaking, financial methods and strategies, and maybe even tennis, on a regular scheduled time and day. I know quite a bit about all those subjects, and I do love to teach others how to do these things and show them how they can have great success and a huge sense of fulfillment and satisfaction from learning these new skills.

So, my challenge to you is to start thinking about your own retirement and start making plans on what you will do to create routine, structure, and social connections. Make a list now, even if you are many years away from retirement. You can change up that list as things come to you but just being aware of the necessity will help you create a fulfilling plan. You won’t be sorry if you do that now!

Getting into the ‘Flow’

February 4, 2011 by  
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I recently sat down and re-read, for maybe the 6th or 7th time, Mihaly Csikszentmihaly’s fantastic book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. He has some very intriguing ideas and I wanted to share some them with you over the next few weeks.

First of all, the basic idea of the book and the theory he discusses is that we are happiest when we are in, what he calls, a state of ‘flow’. This is that moment when you become completely engrossed in what you are doing and everything else around you kind of disappears. Some people call it being in the zone or getting in a groove. But whatever it’s called, it is usually spoken of with fervor, excitement or longing and I think we’d all like to spend a lot more time there.

You can only be in flow, though if the task on hand is of particular interest to you and you have some level of skill to work with. Plus it needs to be challenging–nothing frustratingly hard, but challenging enough to motivate you to keep working at it. A natural interest combined with a testing of our skills gives us an intense sense of fulfillment, so much so that things like time, food, comfort, and even ego are lost. We get to a point where we do the task for the sake of the task and reach a state of productive harmony.

I’m thinking, though, you don’t have to get into the zone or a groove to make these ideas bring more happiness into your life on a regular basis. Whether it’s tasks you are accomplishing at your job, with your business, while working on a hobby or even fixing up the house you can develop your skills so that you do what you do well. Then challenge yourself and your skills. That same sense of fulfillment and happiness can be a part of your every day then, not just those super cool moments when you’re in the flow. But, of course, making it a goal to have more of those trance like flow moments would certainly make for a happier you as well.