Retirement Happiness — Staying Relevant

Staying relevant is important for retirement happiness.

The world changes everyday.  Most often we attribute the pace of change to technology.  But there are also legal changes, economic changes, language changes, style changes.

When there is no need to prove professional competence in the workplace, staying relevant and abreast of changes is challenging.  Without interaction with others in the workplace  everyday, it’s easy to limit oneself.  We start to think we’re too old.

How does one keep up  — or, better, stay ahead?

I’m not always ahead of the change curve, but I do aim to keep up with major changes. I don’t want my relevance to diminish because I’ve stuck my head in the sand and tried to hold on to traditions that are defunct. I’m not ready to be set aside as a ‘has been’.

I try to keep learning about technology.  Technological progress creates many of the changes that affect us. I’m not a wizard, nor am I a Luddite.  It’s impossible to function in 2015 without embracing some level of technology.  I use social media. I’m on my computer and on my smart phone regularly. I know that I can’t force the world to stop changing but I can keep learning about it. I can maximize the benefits of technology to stay in touch with people, for banking, for shopping, and as a quick information resource.

I keep working at general life improvements.  I take courses. I read. I seek new knowledge.  I experiment.  I take risks.  Staying relevant is about constant renewal and self-development. Engagement doesn’t stop at age 65 or at retirement.

I keep up with what’s happening in the world by staying informed about key events — in politics, government, the economy, the environment, and in my community.  I try to stay tuned into the bigger picture using newspapers, the internet, and twitter. I don’t want to bore people by limiting my conversation to health troubles, grand children, or my latest trip.

I engage with a variety of people. People from different cultures, different educational levels, and different ages provide new perspectives. Engaging with younger people who tune into the world through digital experiences exposes me to new problem-solving approaches. I love hearing their opinions and understanding their value systems. I’m intrigued that they seek me out for the wisdom that comes from longer life experience.

I stay aware of trends.  I pay attention to new products and services that come on the market. I especially love labour-saving devices that make retirement easier. I like new ideas.  I’m conscious about fashion but try to avoid fashion trends in favour of enduring style.  After all, we are still judged on outward appearance regardless of age.

I try to understand language changes. Although I love grammar and syntax, I know that it changes quickly.  Words used for SMS are continuously evolving and new words are introduced.  I’m determined that I will be able to communicate with my grand-daughter in language she understands as she grows.

I stay focused on the present and the future. Too many older people get stuck in the past and fall on the sword of past success.  I realize that what I did five or ten years ago was interesting and relevant but such accomplishments count for little in 2015.  Life changes.  People change.  Every day I try to incorporate something new into my thinking.

I face limitations that I place on myself.  When confronted with new opportunities, and I find myself thinking that I’m too old, I ask myself ‘why’.  Am I really too old or am I fearful of a new experience?

Relevance isn’t something that lasts.  It has a ‘best before’ date and must be constantly refreshed. There is no magic formula for staying relevant in a youth-focused world that changes rapidly.

Making relevance a priority brings the reward of a retirement lifestyle that is  happy and fulfilling — and what could be better than that?

I’m interested in your comments about how you stay relevant when faced with never-ending changes.

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4 Replies to “Retirement Happiness — Staying Relevant”

  1. Staying relevant becomes more important as one ages. In addition to the strategies you mentioned, reading and travel help in this regard.

    1. Both reading and travel have significance for staying relevant and fully engaged with life. Travel offers so much in terms of understanding other culture and other people.
      Be well,

  2. that is an interesting challenge Jeanette. You put into words something I have been thinking about for a while now. How to keep connected to a fast changing and somewhat scary world which we tend to observe,more than participate in now. Having social relationships with people ten years younger and who are still working is one. Being part of clubs or organizations that care about social justice is another. Not hibernating is another. Being part of a book club.

    1. I love your strategy for staying relevant. Engaging with the world through relationships, an active social life and involvement with worthwhile organizations certainly keeps life interesting. It sounds as though your awareness of what is required for happiness is, in fact, making your retirement a good phase of life.
      Be well,

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