||From the Nolo.com Retirement Center
Successful retirees share their
thoughts about living a joyful life after retirement.
Why do some retirees cope with life so much better than others? Part of the answer is
fairly obvious: things like getting lots of exercise, keeping busy and creating strong
friendships and family bonds.
But something else also seems to be at work. Since I can't quite describe it, I simply
call it "love of life." Over and above--and sometimes even instead of--good
living habits, it really does seem to set zestful older people apart from so many other
retirees who have lost their joie de vivre.
I put the question to some successful retirees: Why do some older people have the knack of
living life fully, even though, by conventional measures, they have plenty of reason to
feel depressed, bored and lonely? Here are some of the thoughtful answers I received.
Honor Your Eccentricity
Throughout our lives, most of us strive to fit in. Whether we are in fifth grade, high
school or at work, we want to be accepted by the people around us. Somewhat surprisingly,
many of the most successful retirees I interviewed claimed to have often failed miserably
at this and cheerfully described themselves as "odd," "wacky" or
"a little nuts."
One friend, Afton Crooks, explained it like this: "I am the first to admit that I
have always been a little odd. You can't help but observe how you fit--or, in my case,
often don't fit--into the world. I gained a sense of humility, or reduced expectations,
about life that many conventionally popular people never achieve. Thus I was better
adapted to being old in America, a country where everyone over 60 is fundamentally
considered to be weird."
Develop and Respect Toughness
Many happy retirees believe that they have lived harder lives than many of their
contemporaries. Like my friend Gretchen, who calls herself a "tough old bird,"
they believe that coping with tough problems earlier in life makes them better equipped to
cope with old age.