Get involved, stay involved: Think about what you've always wanted to do -- a suppressed desire, a regret. Then make it happen. This may take some inner listening because we've become so attuned as "human doings," rather than "human beings." It's there, though, even if buried way beneath the surface. A car mechanic had always dreamed of playing the piano. He saved enough money so that when he retired he bought a piano, took lessons and is involved in what he now calls "the joy of his life."
Balance your psychological portfolio: Look at your psychological assets before retirement, and figure out ways to replace or duplicate them. Your psychological portfolio has three major parts: your identity; your relationships with colleagues, partners, friends and neighbors; and the purpose gained from your work and community involvement.
Refocus your lens: If something about retirement is bothering you, ask yourself three questions. Can I change the problem? If not, can I change the way I see the problem? And, Can I reduce my stress level through exercise, therapy or meditation? It's all about attitude.
Be patient: Transitions are processes, like taking a trip. You think about it, plan it and do it. Re-engagement is like that.
And then comes the period of figuring out who you are and how to "get a life." This is the exciting part. And it can also be scary. I'm reminded of an equation I learned at a seminar: Scary = Aliveness.
Keys to the PALACE
Awhile back I learned five qualities for a long and successful life. A study was done on centenarians, and it found common traits among those who were thriving beyond 100 years. I made up an acronym, PALACE, around the qualities so I could remember them: Positive attitude, Ability to deal with Loss, Active, Committed and Engaged.
So, now that you have the keys to the PALACE, you can look at not only surviving, but thriving, during your Act Two period of re-engagement. I can already see your remote control -- permanently tuned to the Self-Discovery Channel!
• • •
Thanks to all of you who have sent emails and notes about my recent column anniversary. It helps to know what resonates with you, and I'll have more news soon about those compilations of six years of columns you've requested. Here's to many more!
Linda Arnold, M.A., MBA, is a certified wellness instructor, counselor and chairwoman/CEO of The Arnold Agency, a marketing communications firm with offices in West Virginia, Montana and Washington, D.C. Reader comments are welcome and may be directed to Linda Arnold, The Arnold Agency, 117 Summers St., Charleston, WV 25301, or emailed to livelifefu...@arnoldagency.com.