Retirement Redesigned

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Monday, July 15, 2024

Retirement Redesigned

HomeThe Weekly ResetThe Weekly ResetEnjoying The Age You Are

Enjoying The Age You Are

This post is a duplication of our newsletter, The Weekly Reset, where we review a key theme each week. In the spotlight this week: Enjoying the age you are. What methods do you use to enjoy the age you are?

A note from Johann

Pacing the Pleasures of Life in the Elderhood

It’s a Great Age to be

Louise Aronson’s excellent book “Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, Reimagining Life” describes the stage of life that previously had no title. Now we can understand that older people can identify their stage of life more clearly. She explains how lifespan has increased substantially in the modern world and that there is likely to be twenty or thirty more years of life for reasonably healthy people after retirement.

This newly defined stage of life, which was previously associated with declining health and decreasing psychological adjustment, can have some unexpected challenges and pleasures.

One of these, as we get older, is to pay less attention to our “wants” and to be more flexible in our expectations of life. We need less. Most people, by this stage, are finished with their surging drive for achievement and more willing to adapt to circumstances beyond their control. They want less and are much more prepared to adapt to the mindfulness of things as they are.

Scientific research has shown us older people are happier, as explored in the book The Happiness Curve: Why Life Gets Better After 50 by Jonathan Rauch. So, people in their elderhood are also easier to live with and more willing to be kind and accommodating.

At Reset, we aim to stress the pleasure and the necessity of being happy with your age and your stage of life. Having the wisdom and benefit of life’s experience adds quality and peace of mind in elderhood. It is the time you can enjoy the stage you are in.


Our top pick this week:

Age against the machine: the secret to enjoying a long life

The writer Carl Honoré used to think of ageing as a ‘chamber of horrors’. Now he argues we are in a ‘golden age’ for older people.

Photograph: Rawpixel/Getty Images/iStockphoto as per original article from The Guardian

‘Honoré has travelled the world in search of active, high-achieving older people, but he stresses that he doesn’t want to hold the “outliers” up as the norm. He is more interested in a state of mind in which the average 70- and 80-year-old goes on working if they want to, volunteering, starting their own enterprises, playing competitive sport, having great sex – and society doesn’t bat an eye. It is ageist, he argues, to stop people being able to do those things; but it’s also ageist to make a big deal of it. Still having sex at 80, still making TV programmes at 90, even running marathons at 100? Why shouldn’t they be?

The conclusion Honoré came to, after three years of research and an examination of the way older people are treated around the world, was that it was in many ways a golden age for “the old” (a term he would never use): there were more of them, they were healthier, more active and many were better off than in previous generations. They could no longer be ignored or marginalised. But, in his view, that is just a beginning. “It can be so much better,” he says, “if we move a lot of goalposts and change the way everything from healthcare to politics to the business world to education is organised.” He argues that the idea of being educated between the ages of five and 21, working for 40 years and then retiring on a pension at 60 is completely out of date, imagining a much more fluid way of life where we dip in and out of education and the job market and never formally “retire”.’

Click here to read the whole article on The Guardian

Our Spotlight video:

5 Ways to Enjoy the Age You Are

With all the serious business of aging, there is also a need for levity and lightheartedness. Preparing for retirement includes making time for fun, being open to fresh adventures and rewarding ourselves in what is touted to be the happiest time in our lives.

Weekly Spotlight

Other highlights for the week:

Laughter is the Best Medicine

It’s fun to share a good laugh, but did you know it can actually improve your health? Learn how to harness the powerful benefits of laughter and humor.

Image as per original article on Help Guide

“The benefits of laughter
It’s true: laughter is strong medicine. It draws people together in ways that trigger healthy physical and emotional changes in the body. Laughter strengthens your immune system, boosts mood, diminishes pain, and protects you from the damaging effects of stress. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. Humor lightens your burdens, inspires hope, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert. It also helps you release anger and forgive sooner.

With so much power to heal and renew, the ability to laugh easily and frequently is a tremendous resource for surmounting problems, enhancing your relationships, and supporting both physical and emotional health. Best of all, this priceless medicine is fun, free, and easy to use.

Laughter is good for your health
Laughter relaxes the whole body.
A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.

Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.

Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.

Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.

Laughter burns calories. Okay, so it’s no replacement for going to the gym, but one study found that laughing for 10 to 15 minutes a day can burn approximately 40 calories—which could be enough to lose three or four pounds over the course of a year.

Laughter lightens anger’s heavy load. Nothing diffuses anger and conflict faster than a shared laugh. Looking at the funny side can put problems into perspective and enable you to move on from confrontations without holding onto bitterness or resentment.

Laughter may even help you to live longer. A study in Norway found that people with a strong sense of humor outlived those who don’t laugh as much. The difference was particularly notable for those battling cancer.”

Click here to read the article on Help Guide

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Happy elderly woman portraying the benefits of our community

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Wildcard Pick for the Week

Buy Experiences, Not Things
Click here to read the article on The Atlantic

Most Popular Quote of the Week

When we were small children, we all played dress-up and everybody had
a good time. So why stop? – Iris Apfel

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When we were small children we all played dress-up and everybody had a good time. So why stop? – Iris Apfel

Weekly Question

This week’s question:
How do you cultivate a clear sense of identity outside your profession?
Click here to answer the question in our Facebook group

Last week’s question and findings:
What do you enjoy about being the age you are?
• Having a strong sense of self
• Having grandchildren
• Freedom
• I’m healthy enough to do anything I want
• I climbed Mt Kilimanjaro at age 64, what an adventure
• Different possibilities from when I worked full time

To get more information and resources like this in your inbox weekly, subscribe to our newsletter here.

Johann is the founding partner of Reset Retirement where we focus on assisting people with planning for the non-financial aspects of their lives after full-time work. He had a long career in executive search and leadership as the founding partner and chairman of Heidrick & Struggles in South Africa where he was the head of the company’s board practice.