What do I want to do with the rest of my life?

The question “What do I want to do with the rest of my life?” is now popping up with a regularity I’ve never seen before. Whether it’s the pandemic, marketplace upheaval, remote working, or other reasons, the question is everywhere. 

On the surface, it’s a question about “What do I do…?” But if you listen carefully for even a few minutes, you soon hear a deeper question i.e. “Who do I want to be for the rest of my life?”  The whole concept of retirement has fundamentally changed says Stuart Lewis, founder of Rest Less, a community platform for over 50s.” Gone are the days of working 5 days a week for four decades, before suddenly stopping cold turkey. Even the word retirement no longer fits – retiring from what?”

I fully understand this statement, it is only recently that I started calling myself semi-retired. The word retirement feels like it is all over, that you are in the final straight, when it could be a third of your life. Babies born in the UK in 2018 are expected to live to 87.6 for men and 90.2 years for women on average

According to research by the Post Office, nearly 7 out of 10 people aged over 50 say the traditional concept is no more. The research identified a number of midlife tribes such as “elderpreneurs” pursuing career ambitions in new sectors and self-employment; “fitness finders” for whom cycling, yoga and adventure challenges are the priority; and “new horizons” who love learning and exploring the world.

Of course, it could be a combination of all three. I now run my own small company, am probably fitter than I have been for 40 years and except for the pandemic, would be exploring the world. Plus, there is an urge to give back via charities and community work as you have the time to commit. Maybe it is a need to feel useful.

To plan to do something that really gives you joy and meaning. If you need to top up your pension by finding your IKIGAI says Andrew Middleton, founder of “I’m not done yet”, a platform and coaching service for over 50s. A Japanese concept, IKIGAI refers to having a direction or sense of purpose. It roughly translates as “a reason for being” and has been scientifically proven to help people live a longer and happier life. How can you identify your IKIGAI? Think of something you are good at, what you enjoy doing, that the world needs and will pay you to do. Combine them and you have struck gold.

Without knowing it I found my IKIGAI through first of all studying something called NLP (neuro linguistic programming) and whilst doing this came across coaching 16 years later, I love what I do, supporting people and companies get to what they want to do, I suppose their own IKIGAI

People who have done the same job for years tend to really struggle with their identity post retirement. Some seem to get to a point where they say “it’s too late and I’m too old to do something new” and as a result they write themselves off. Stay curious, see what is going on out there and keep your options open. A positive mindset is essential

Since I started my retirement coaching 3 years ago, I have been surprised with the lack of demand compared to my other coaching niches. I can help you prepare for the idea of retirement and feel in control rather than “lost at sea”. We can discover what gives you a sense of purpose and create a plan to help you get there. If you want to start this process email neil@nvwsolutions.co.uk and I will send you a retirement questionnaire.

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