Monday, February 25, 2013

Bragging Rights: Success in Retirement

English: Elements of Life Success Book
What happens when you remove career from this puzzle?
What do you see as being successful in a life without a job? When the perks and rewards that come with a career go away how will you find satisfaction without someone telling you how good you are? You may not realize it but I would bet that you will need to find a way to satisfy that part of your nature. So how will you do that?

Find a Hobby that You Love
I am a blogger and part of my measure of achievement comes with what happens when I write. You may be a golfer or a volunteer or even an avid lover of books. Whatever you do, I imagine that it validates you in some way. And validation is what we all need.

Live on Your Past Laurels
My family likes to joke that every adventure is all about the bragging rights. It is very true that humans do like to feel good about something that sets them above the is natural to feel good about success. In some ways talking about success is the minds way of getting that feeling achievement brings one more time. It is very like showing those vacation photos to an unwary friend...the viewer may not be excited but the person that took the photos gets to relive that vacation joy one more time. Bragging may work the same way.

Even though bragging may make the bragger feel good, being the person listening is not so much fun.  In fact, it could be that the person that is bragging is simply topping what you just talked about. This is where the old job that brought the worker a millions air miles gets to be a unimportant. Really no one cares anymore. If they want to have friendships, retiree have to move on and find a new way of validating their existence.

Find Intrinsic or Extrinsic Rewards
It is hard to give up the idea that going to work does not pay for your bread and butter. Getting paid every month without a job seemed very strange when my husband I headed down this path. We would never again get a raise because we worked hard or be given a plaque for a job well done. While it is all good, we both missed those types of positive least to begin with. Then we settled into a life that required us to find satisfaction from within. We became self-starters and worked or played for the shear joy of being tired or getting better at our hobbies. We learned to have fun and worry less...why was that so hard?

I have begun to think that retirement happiness requires a great deal of imagination. Maybe that is why it is hard to feel successful in spite of what may look like a perfect life. Everyone needs to find something that brings a reward in their life but payoffs in the third part of our life may need to come from an inner drive and not a pay check.  For us the trick was to set goals and then invent our own rewards and plaques. It was a process that required us to learn to pat ourselves on the back. Other people take up a hobby or avocation with the hope that they will gain recognition or monetary gain. Their success comes from feeling wanted and needed. They need extrinsic rewards to be able to see themselves as successful.

As for those bragging rights it all depends on how you use them. Do you voice them out loud or do you keep them close to your vest? It is each individual's choice. I am working to come to a place where it is a enough to know in my heart and be satisfied. Hopefully, I can keep myself under control and not become tiresome or a braggart.  Hopefully!

What do you see as being successful in this stage of your life?

Note: Comments are encouraged and very welcome. Be sure to leave a url for you blog site in the comment box with your comment.  I would like to read what you are writing and so would other people.  Let's make it as easy as we can for them.

Have a wonderful day.


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  1. I define success at this stage as being deeply content with how each day is being spent now that I'm in complete control of my time.

    I continue to get little charges of adrenaline (little chemical "atta girls!" if you will) every time I push past a fear and do something I wasn't sure I could accomplish. It happened again just yesterday, when I did a long training ride on my bicycle in pretty heavy winds. When we started out we were going with the wind, and I was quietly fearful that when we turned around and started back, going into the head wind the entire way, I'd be unable to finish the ride. When I did finish the ride, tough, tough, tough though it was, I got hit with a big charge of adrenaline.

    I've learned I need to build a certain level of discomfort into my day to provide an offset for the times I simply relax. It's a philosophy I see repeated frequently in books of insight I read, and there is much truth and wisdom in it.

  2. This is very interesting...I had never thought about the fact that we can overcome a fear for what we could NOT do and then fee successful. I like that a lot. Thank you for your comment.



Leave your thoughts...I am interested.

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