In this world where things seem to be getting bleaker as time moves on, one exciting change most of us can look forward to is the freedom of retirement and the ability at last to pursue the activities and the goals that eluded us while tied down to a full-time job.
Up until quite recently, harried workers looked forward to later years that promised lots of leisure time to spend on the links, playing cards, sipping martinis or enjoying other fun pursuits. Although the concept of retirement has changed dramatically to more serious and productive undertakings, more than enough time remains to enjoy those leisure activities too.
As the tone of the current Presidential election campaign demonstrates, members of the baby boomer generation relish change far more than their predecessors ever did. They altered many of society's standards during their earlier years, and will continue to do so after they retire.
Many rejected traditional family life, choosing to live together as unmarrieds before settling down and tying the knot. Those that chose otherwise tended to have smaller families, even no children and to divorce more readily.
With extended years of healthy minds and bodies to look forward to after retiring, those same pioneers now launch new ventures chosen either to supplement income, to realize long-held dreams, to make a lasting contribution to society or even to devote far more time to hobbies and other pastimes. In short, to remain productive just as long as they are able.
New Retirement Opportunities
The number of entrepreneurs over age 55 is growing by leaps and bounds, according to a US Government report. A Merrill Lynch survey found that 75% of Baby Boomers want to continue working at other jobs after retirement, some full-time while others limit their work plans to part-time.
Those that don't intend to work often state that they will devote much of their retirement to leaving a legacy. Some want to pay society back for the success they have experienced by actively participating in charitable causes. Many talk of writing a memoir for their heirs or a how-to book for those who succeed them in the field in which they worked for so many years.
In a study conducted by the Gallup Organization of mature Americans, 81% stated they longed to write a book. My experiences as I speak publicly about writing and the writer's life confirm this, as does my own retirement choice to write books after years as a newspaper and magazine editor/writer.
Online Participation Growing
More and more seniors become computer literate every year. The highly respected Pew Internet & American Life Project reports that the number of seniors who go online ballooned by 47% between 2000 and 2004. By 2007, 54% of 60-69-year olds were Internet users, a remarkable growth pattern that is strongly reflective of their desire to take advantage of new technology to broaden their reach.
This curiosity isn't limited to online activities alone. Nowhere is it more evident than in the travel industry, which is finding that retirees are not content just to visit traditional destinations in the US or Western Europe. They are seeking both knowledge and adventure.
Senior travel groups are adding new places to their lists of itineraries and more cultural emphasis. Elderhostel now offers “Road Scholar" trips as well as “Service Learning" programs. Companies like Overseas Adventure Travel, Vantage Travel and IExplore are taking seniors to the African plains, Borneo, places throughout the Far East and to Antarctic and the South American jungles and mountains.
The continuous growth of senior educational programs is another example of this growing curiosity. More than 119 colleges and universities maintain an OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) program on their campuses, and hundreds of other colleges and community school systems offer learning programs for older adults.
So don't be left behind. Advancing age today doesn't mean slowing down. Quite the opposite. With the vitality of the new generation of seniors, it offers the free time to grasp these new opportunities and discover how fulfilling this new period of life can be.
Jumpstart your writing or improve it with help from author Charles Jacobs’ coaching program or by reading his latest book “The Writer Within You. " It is designed specifically for boomers and seniors who long to write, and was chosen for six “Best Books of the Year" lists. Buy it at a discount on his web site http://www.retirement-writing.com Also available at Amazon, B&N, Borders and independent bookstores.