Endings or Beginnings?

“Do not wait until the conditions are perfect to begin. Beginning makes the conditions perfect.” ~ Alan Cohen

A new study of Americans aged 45+ found that instead of slowing down, 57% view retirement as a time of new beginnings, and half want to launch a whole new career!

Retirement is about new beginnings (and lots of uncertainty) for baby boomers. A January 2013 study of 6,300 Americans conducted by Merrill Lynch in partnership with Age Wave found that individuals preferred “reinvention” over traditional retirement, peace of mind over wealth accumulation, and view longer life expectancies as a chance to explore new options and/or pursue old dreams.

From a financial planning perspective, one of the more eye-opening findings was that achieving peace of mind was seven times more important to respondents that accumulating wealth (88% versus 12% respectively). The more than 70 million baby boomers that will begin to retire in the next decade will transform the notion of retirement. Their very numbers will force a rethinking of what retirement means and how people will live their lives. These numbers force us to identify those critical factors that will define a “healthy” retirement.

But don’t tell Baby Boomers that they are old (because I’m not πŸ™‚ ). According to a Pew Research Survey, the typical boomer believes that old age does not begin until age 72. Also, while about half of all adults say they feel younger than their actual age, fully 61% of boomers are feeling more spry than their age would imply. In fact, the typical boomer feels nine years younger than his or her chronological age.

If you’re a boomer, you probably know a thing or two about reinvention. For college professors, the mantra has been “publish or perish.” For boomers, it’s “reinvent and survive.” As boomers move through life, they are tempted to want to have everything under control. Unfortunately, that strategy is a straight road to boredom. Being a beginner until the day you die is an important aspect of creating an interesting and invigorating life. Besides, beginnings are rarely controlled situations.

As you entertain new beginnings, keep the following in mind:

  • Beginnings involve going in the wrong direction. When you start something new, even if you have a full set of instructions (like comparable life experience), you make mistakes because the whole idea is new and a challenge to grasp. Wrong turns help define the context of what you’re doing and help make it work well.
  • Beginnings usually involve a few restarts. Thinking that it’s going to be smooth sailing from the get-go invites frustration. Redirects are inevitable. Sometimes you don’t even know where you are trying to go when you start out. Don’t get torqued about it. Starting something new takes courage. Seeing something through takes patience and tolerance. πŸ™‚
  • Beginnings often don’t look like beginnings. Starting in a new direction is often disguised as something old ending. What you had worked hard for was not something you wanted to change. The old reliable version of life was…well…yours. Letting go and stepping into the unknown of a new start is the only way to begin the next chapter of your life.

25 thoughts on “Endings or Beginnings?

  1. I actually don’t know where to begin… because I have a lot of catching up to do with your posts! I love them all and I’m sitting here realizing I have read so much πŸ˜€
    Thanks for the wisdom and inspiration πŸ˜€

  2. Thanks Eric, It’s like your wrote this for me! I’ve had so many beginnings I’m worn out, but still willing to keep on, especially with encouragement from friends. Not wanting to make mistakes still holds me back some times. Thanks.

  3. Pingback: Prepare for a second career – Now! | My Write Business Way

  4. Pingback: Prepare for a Second Career – Part Two | My Write Business Way

  5. I thought this was appropriate to share tonight. I just got this in an email. I’m tickled pink at the beauty in it. Just priceless.

    Your Future Is Always Bright

    Hello Dear Ones,

    I turned 87 this week. I choose to see my life moving in different directions, all of them equally good. Some things are even better now than the way they were in my youth. My younger years were filled with fear; my todays are filled with confidence.

    My own life really didn’t begin to have meaning until I was in my mid-40s. At the age of 50, I began my writing career on a very small scale. The first year I made a profit of $42. At 55, I ventured into the world of computers. They scared me, but I took classes and overcame the fear. Today I have three computers and travel with my iPad and iPhone everywhere! At 60, I had my first garden. At this same time, I enrolled in a children’s art class and began to paint. At 70 and 80, I was more creative and my life continues to get richer and fuller. I still write, I lecture, I teach through my actions. I am constantly reading and studying. I own a very successful publishing company and have two non-profits. I’m a dedicated organic gardener. I grow most of my own food. I love people and parties. I have many loving friends. I travel extensively. I also am still painting and taking classes. My life has really become a treasure chest of experiences.

    I want to help you create a conscious idea of your later years, to help you realize that these can be the most rewarding years of your life. Know that your future is always bright, no matter what your age. See your later years becoming your treasure years.

    Instead of just getting old and giving up and dying, let’s learn to make a huge contribution to life. We have the time, we have the knowledge, and we have the wisdom to move out into the world with love and power.

    Step forward, use your voice, get out in the world, and LIVE!

    Louise L. Hay

  6. Great post! I always say that as Oprah ages, life starts at an older age..lol.
    I remember one of my ex colleagues saying that when you think you know everything and don’t need to learn anymore, you might as well expire πŸ˜‰

  7. HI..

    great post | one of the more eye-opening findings was that achieving peace of mind
    was seven times more important to respondents that accumulating wealth
    (88% versus 12% respectively).

  8. Excellent post, Eric. You know, just maybe they should change the word “retirement”.

    I really can’t picture going back to a classroom, I have such sorry association with those years, but yes in many ways I can totally see it as new beginnings.

    • A great and needed idea. How are you going to instigate the word change? πŸ™‚ Without doubt, we don’t want to head back into something that isn’t clearly aligned with our passions and purpose. But the stronger tug *is* definitely the lure of new beginnings and possibilities, not previously considered. Let us know what the new term is going to be! πŸ™‚

      • Ha ha – I will need thinning time :). Perhaps I’ll come up with it by the time I reach “retirement”.

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