As I go about my typical day I can’t help but notice increasing numbers of people over the age of 60 still in or returning to the workforce. At 11pm the toll booth operator, at 1am the early morning cashier at Kroger, the other day my pizza delivery guy, all seniors, still on the job for various reasons. I sat down and pondered, “What’s it like to have to reinvent yourself after you have reached your sixties?”
I didn’t have to go far for some answers. My mother who just turned 63, recently retired from her self employed business. She’s been in the bridal business for more than 20 years and a seamstress for more than 30. As one of her former customers says, “She does the best bridal alterations in North Carolina,” which is no easy feat.
My mom had been talking of retiring for more than a year and at first I thought it was just that, talk. As the months approached to D day (Do It Day), I watched, listened and came to understand her drive, determination and desire. You see all three of these things had to match up in order for her to be able to close the doors on a business she loves; move more than 700 miles from one state to another; not to mention leave her church, friends of many, many years and some family members behind all to venture into the unknown. Not an easy task for most.
How does one in good health, who is not financially wealthy, has no other major reason except a desire for change, a desire for a more carefree life, pack up and go or change careers or re-enter the workforce? Here is a road map to help you outline the later half of your life.
GET WRITING. First you really need to determine where you are, so that your thoughts and actions can easily transition you to where you want to be. Now stick the pen to the paper and write it out. Do you want to move from a house to an apartment or condo? Do you like the idea of a retirement community? Do you want to alleviate financial pressure or responsibility and move in with family? How about throwing caution to the wind and turn your hobby or passion into a new business? The more out of the norm for you, your new choices happen to be, the higher your drive, determination, and desire will need to be. Even at this stage in your life anything is possible, especially at this stage. Once you have some clear ideas of what you are wanting…
Now, it’s time to…
GET HELP. Although the advice of family and friends can sometimes be useful, I believe it can be more effective to get help or information from someone who has not prejudged you. People who know you will tend to tell you all the reasons why you can’t or shouldn’t do something. Leave the naysayers to the side and do your own research, your own due diligence. Your local library is a good place to start and for the computer savvy of course there is the internet. Attend seminars geared to your topic, go to open houses, call ahead and take tours of businesses, community living complexes, expos, and/or colleges. Attend job fairs even if it’s just to pick up business cards, brochures and to get new ideas. Once you open your mind to the possibilities, opportunities will present themselves in the most amazing ways. One tip here; don’t spend any sizeable amount of money until you have slept on a new idea overnight.
Now, it’s time to…
GET ANSWERS. Here are some resources for you to check out. I have no affiliation with any of them. This is just a short list of what’s available to you.
Retirenet.com – a directory of retirement communities.
Seniorresource.com – a directory of housing choices.
Rv-life-and-travel.com – has RV living information.
Caretakers.bravehost.com – contains information and classified ads on becoming a property caretaker.
Coolworks.com – information on finding seasonal jobs at places like national parks, ranches, ski resorts and summer camps.
Retiredroommates.com – become a roommate or look for one.
AARP.org – one of the most popular senior lifestyle sites online. There is a wealth of information out there, just set aside some time to organize your findings.
Now, it’s time to…
GET BUSY. Alright, here is the hard part. You have thought it out, done your research and got some answers. Don’t let fear, uncertainty or change keep you from moving forward. Don’t worry about making a mistake, it’s guaranteed that you will make one or two. The joy of realizing your new life will far out weigh any mistakes along the way.
When I come to a crossroad in my life I like to remember a quote from a movie called Shades of Fear, “Stretched out in front of me, road like a runway headed for the blue sky, but the road bends and the sky is still dark over there. I can’t tell if I’m going into it or against it. What matters is that I go.”
Please let me know how things turn out for you.
Copyright (c) 2007 Priscilla Parham