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The secret to a happy retirement

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About Sue @ Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond

I'm Sue Loncaric and I'm Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond. I love running and keeping fit and healthy so I can keep up with my grandson. I started my blog after retiring early. I retired to spend more time with my husband but after a few months I felt lost. So I started to encourage women of midlife to embrace and enjoy this new phase of life. This is the time to explore new opportunities and to be fit, fabulous, healthier and happier.

Have you retired intentionally, or been dragged kicking and screaming into it? Here's how to thrive in this new stage in life.

Topic of the Week: The Secret to a Happy Retirement

Have you retired intentionally, or were you forced into it kicking and screaming?  Perhaps you never want to retire at all?

Are you thriving or surviving in retirement? Picture: Shutterstock.

Are you thriving or surviving in retirement? Picture: Shutterstock

In these times when our life expectancy is much longer, many of us are still working beyond retirement age because of choice, or perhaps because of financial circumstances.

Read more from Sue Loncaric: Why women feel invisible in retirement

Whatever your stage, retirement can be a huge adjustment in our life.  It can also be wonderful, depending on how your attitude is.

My experience

I retired early to spend more time with my husband.  He is nine years older than me and had already retired. I was in a situation where I enjoyed working, because apart from defining me as a person, it also gave me purpose.

However, apart from wanting to spend more quality time with my husband, I was also experiencing bullying at work from one of my co-workers. I am not confrontational and this woman was so intimidating to everyone, that when it was 'my turn' to be in her line of vision, it affected my health and wellbeing -- so I decided it was time to leave.

The first few months of retirement were great.

  • We travelled to Asia, enjoyed a wonderful cruise and explored China.
  • I enjoyed the feeling of not having to be anywhere in particular at any time
  • So much flexibility!
  • So boring!
  • As the months passed, I found that I wasn't adjusting to this new style of living. Yes, I loved spending time with my husband, but we certainly couldn't afford to travel all the time and as I am someone who needs structure in my life, I just couldn't settle into a routine.

    I did some contract work for small businesses with bookkeeping and social media management, but I wasn't happy.

    That's when I started my blog, .  It was a way of using my experiences to encourage other women over 50 who were struggling with areas of their life.  I'm passionate about living a healthy lifestyle, so I decided to encourage women to be fit, fabulous, healthier and happier.  I also wanted to connect with others -- and through blogging I have made friends from all over the world.

    The secret to a happy retirement

    'Is there a secret to a happy retirement?' I asked myself this question based on my own experience and came up with some ideas.

    Have a plan

    Most of us who have worked full-time and had a family have had little time to find outside interests.  When we retire, we feel lost and unsettled.  Having a plan of what we want to do with our life is a must.

    Write down some ideas and formulate a plan - ideally BEFORE you retire.

  • What will replace your work?
  • Are there things you always wanted to do, but didn't have the time?
  • Do you have a financial plan that will be able to sustain the lifestyle you want?
  • Would you like to volunteer?
  • Will you want to be part of your grandchildren's lives?  I minded my grandson one day each week for four years and absolutely loved it.  That may not be what you want in life, so you need to be clear.
  • Retire from work, not life

    It is important to accept that just because you have retired, it doesn't mean that life stops.  As we are living longer, there are many more opportunities for retirees than our parents had.  Life is there to be lived, so make sure you aren't wasting your time.  Retirement can be just as fulfilling as full-time work it is just a matter of finding what you are passionate about.

    Don't retire if that suits you

    Some people just can't stop working.  It is ingrained in them and they actually enjoy their work.  There are organisations that recognise the value of older workers and don't make them retire at a certain age.  Why not use your working experience and start a small business?

    Find a balance and don't feel guilty

    Sometimes, I just want to lie down and read a book and then I feel guilty.  Stupid isn't it?  However, when you have worked all your life it is hard to just let go of the feeling that you should be doing something productive and just enjoy the balance that retirement can bring to your life.

    Don't use the word retirement

    Perhaps we should just remove the word retirement and use something else, like lifestyle change.  Retirement can be a depressing word as it can conjure up images of becoming invisible (which I wrote about last week ) or makes us face our own mortality sooner than we would like to.

    Using ''lifestyle change'' is a much more positive way of accepting and enjoying this new phase of life.

    Remember, retirement is not one size fits all, so finding what gives you purpose and fulfillment may be trial and error, until you find what makes you feel comfortable and happy.

    What are your thoughts on retirement?  I would love to hear them, so why not join the conversation and leave me your thoughts in the comments below.

    If you like what you read, pop over and visit me at and let's start thriving!

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