It was a fairly common practice 30 or 40 years ago for high school graduates to take a year off to travel, see the world a bit and “find themselves” before pursuing a college degree or starting a career. And now those same aging baby boomers are increasingly considering taking a gap year for themselves before heading into retirement or in many cases, a second act career.
After decades of the daily grind, older adults may be ready to ditch the suit and tie but may not be ready to slow down altogether. And with increasing longevity, retirement can often be much longer than it was just 50 years ago. In the United States between 1972 and 2010, life expectancy at age 65 increased nearly four years and increased by a year on average among seniors over 85 to 6.5 years. Filling and funding that added time takes planning and for many a year away from it all can spark the creativity to craft an exciting new next stage of life.
Perhaps it’s a life long dream of becoming a chef that inspires a corporate lawyer to take a year of culinary school in Italy or a passion for photography which blossoms into a second career; whatever the motivation, early retirement is the ideal time to seize the day and take chances. While in good health and ready for a new challenge, newly minted retirees are looking at ways they can remain relevant, engaged and full of purpose. For some volunteer work offers fulfillment while others take the opportunity to learn a new language or run for political office.
Where ever the road may lead most retired adults are not sitting on the porch sipping tea. They are running marathons, starting new businesses, fostering guide dogs, going back to school and so much more.
To read more about taking the next step before retirement, check out the book Reboot Your Life: Energize Your Career & Life by Taking a Break by Catherine Allen, Nancy Bearg, Rita Foley and Jaye Smith available on amazon.com.