The New Retirement

I’m Jim Stalker, and living what I’m calling the “New Retirement.”

Instead of budgets, pickleball, and Netflix I’m focusing on mobilizing my deep passions into a workflow that deepens social connections while developing expertise through disciplined work.

The result for me is I’ve never been happier, had more clarity of thought, or felt more energy in my life. I’ve also never been more fit.

Frankly, I am surprised by this development in my life and never expected my retirement to be like this. For most of my adult life my work life was chore and something I had to psyche myself up for. Internally I made all kinds of mental trade offs like the job pays well, I get to work with smart people, and I get health insurance.

Deep down I knew these jobs were not scratching the meaningful work itch. I was deeply frustrated and in denial about the whole thing. I was hard to be around because I was miserable. So when my career ended, I found myself fed up, exhaused,

By the end of my career, I was fed up, exhausted, and nervous for the future.

More damning was

Data Makes it Clear

Numerous studies on retiree happiness back up the finding that financial security is an important element toward retirement peace of mind. But, despite all the focus on retirement savings, it is social connections, meaningful pursuits, and psychological resilience that play equal if not more crucial roles.

In fact, additional data on the social lives of seniors indicate that relationships built on trust, honesty, and communication are the most highly valued. Yet, developing relationships on that bedrock is complex and nuanced. Interpersonal dynamics like honesty and trust involve a complex interplay of individual psychology and the dynamics of the relationship requiring very mature relationship building skills.

The Harvard Study of Adult Development, one of the longest studies of adult life, has found that close relationships, more than money or fame, are what keep people happy throughout their lives. The study concludes that maintaining strong social connections with family, friends, and community are associated with happier, healthier, and longer lives.