One of the more disturbing myths about retirement is that it’s all about having enough money. Not only is it disturbing and misleading, but it’s also the source of grief for so many. People place so much emphasis on the financial aspects of retirement that far too few of them consider the emotional implications of such a drastic life change.
Retirement is about living your life with dignity and grace. Not from the goodness of other people bestowing the dignity and grace upon you. But from having your own retirement be about living your own life with your own dignity and grace. It’s about being proud of who you are, how you lived and what you have become. Doesn’t matter if you retired rich or poor or simply ‘just making it’. It’s about respecting yourself, knowing you’ve done your best, holding your head held high and carrying on.
Some of the primary things we need to retire with dignity and grace is having a roof over our heads, food on the table, utility bills paid on time, as little debt as possible, a guaranteed fixed income with some emergency money securely tucked away. It’s perfectly fine and acceptable to be living a small life. It’s fascinating to find out in retirement how little money you may need to bring happiness and joy into your life.
One of the first things I did when transitioning into my own retirement was to make sure my home and my appearance were always presentable. My house didn’t have to be the Taj Mahal. It did, however, have to be neat, clean and tidy. Same for my appearance. I don’t have to wear designer clothes nor spend hours sprucing up my makeup and hair. I just need to be clean, neat, somewhat fashionable and presentable. I take as much care and pride in my appearance as I do with my home, my car and all my valuable possessions. I care for my appliances. I care for maintenance and upkeep. These things bring value to my life. They also bring me dignity and grace.
I like to keep my eye on trends. The world so interests me. I like to keep up with styles and technological improvements. This doesn’t mean I run out and buy the latest things. No, it just makes me realize what is important in life and what brings me value. I learn what to keep and what to toss away. An uncluttered life is one of grace and beauty. Retirement is all about lifestyle. You get to choose how you want to live your life.
Retirement can be the beginning of a happy and productive life – it’s the reward for what you have earned so far. Make the best of it with dignity and radiant grace.