Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.”
― Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
Change is unavoidable. For this reason, if we want to be happy retirees, we must embrace change with gusto like never before. Commit to thriving, not simply surviving.
Change is nothing new. We’ve encountered it throughout our lives.
Getting married, having a baby, buying a house – these are all monumental changes people are familiar with. Although these changes may be stressful at times, most of us consider them to be positive experiences that enrich our lives.
I think this is partially due to the fact that we are happy to undertake change that we consider positive. We have enthusiasm for making changes that we like or approve of.
On the flip side, changes that we dislike are met with apathy and fear. Circumstances viewed as negative cause us to become rigid and unyielding.
Instead of becoming flexible and bending gracefully in the breeze like a stately tree, humans behave more like heavy boulders that can’t be budged without special equipment.
Staying the same is stagnation and a recipe for old age.
By the time retirement arrives, we’ve ridden the roller coaster of life with its many ups and downs. And we’ve encountered many changes along the way.
Nevertheless, we occasionally find ourselves butting heads with our spouse over retirement issues that will mean change. Under the guise of security and stability, we resist changes that would enrich our lives.
Embracing change, especially change that we perceive as difficult isn’t necessarily easy.
Yet, when we make a commitment to embrace it and go with the flow, the results tend to be beneficial. We learn from it and experience personal growth.
Let’s take a look at the two types of change.
Planned Change and Unexpected Change
-Planned – These are the changes that we anticipate – the ones that we initiate ourselves or make plans for. We take action to bring about the results we desire. Careful thought is given in anticipation of a future event which is due to take place.
Whether it be outlining steps to improve our diet or making reservations for a trip to the Orient, the planned change is a deliberate decision that we’ve made. It is classified as positive because we’ve chosen it. It is a project, event, etc. that is predictable.
Hence, we like planned change because we are in control of it.
-Unplanned – Everyone experiences unplanned changes. They are unanticipated and may be thrust upon us at the most inopportune times. They usually bring apprehension and uncertainty.
The car goes on the blink and we suddenly need to dig into our savings for repairs. The stock market crashes and people’s retirement savings take a plunge. The housing market now caters to Millenials who are thrifty, and you can’t sell your big house for the price you wanted.
These are unplanned changes in which we have no control.
They can be sudden and uncomfortable and often change our lives in ways that are scary.
Consequently, we consider them negative and resist unplanned changes.
Embrace Change and Be a Happy Retiree
Regardless of the kind of change we experience, embracing it will lead to a happier, more contented retirement. When we live with the knowledge that change is going to happen, regardless of what we do, we release our fears and find contentment living within the field of all possibilities.
Consider these 5 reasons for embracing change in retirement.
Number 1 – Adventure
Retirement is an exciting adventure, don’t miss out on it because you cannot embrace change. I am not talking about an adventure such as a vacation, but the kind that will make you step out of your comfort zone. As I said in my article, What is a Self-Reliant Retiree, don’t make the mistake of conforming to peer pressure – what friends, family, and financial planners suggest you do with your life.
Number 2 – Personal Growth
When it comes to embracing change, fear is at the top of the list. The fear of the unknown really makes people want to dig in their heals and resist. Refuse to give it power and don’t struggle with it. Make fear your friend. Ultimately, face your fears about retirement, whether they are about money, aging, or relocating. Saying “what am I afraid of” helps to dissolve the irrational thoughts about change. Watch your personal growth flourish.
Number 3 – Enrichment
Enrichment is defined as improving something – making it better. Because you cannot have improvement without alteration, enrichment is synonymous with change. Retirement is an ideal time to enrich your life by learning something new or returning to an idea, project, or goal that you once wanted to achieve. Examine old habits that may be holding you back from reaching your full potential.
Number 4 – Acceptance
Accept that change in retirement is inevitable. Prepare for it mentally by knowing that at any time, an unexpected change could arise. However, don’t expect disaster. That is asking for trouble to manifest in your life. With this in mind, embrace whatever challenge comes along knowing that nothing stays the same. Accept the present while planning for the future. At the same time, understand that your plans will develop, but not necessarily exactly as anticipated. This mindset helps to develop a right attitude for contentment.
Number 5 – Freedom
As baby boomers, we believed in change. We rejected our parent’s values, dodged the draft, and flipped-off the establishment. In contrast, it seems that many boomers have now become their parents. Some appear to think success is having money and that freedom is about adhering to the U.S. Constitution. Freedom in retirement means choice – making decisions to live where and how you and your spouse want, regardless of what the next guy is doing. Initiate change and move your life in a completely new direction. Exercise your freedom to be independent of the crowd.
Change is inevitable. In addition, we are all aware that the tapestry of life is made up of change. At the same time, we resist it due to fears of instability and peer pressure. Staying the same is stagnation and a recipe for old age. In contrast, embracing change and going with the flow, retirement becomes a new and exciting adventure.
Do you have any specific plans for changes in retirement? Do you have any tips for embracing change? Leave us a comment below. We’d love to hear from you.