Don’t you just love on-line personality quizzes? You know, the ones where you answer a few innocuous-seeming multiple-choice questions—press enter—and voila—you are assigned a set-in-stone personality type (that may or may not remotely resemble the you that you know). The retirement versions of these quizzes claim to be able to determine your ‘retirement personality type’, ‘retirement happy place’ and ‘retirement investment type’. I just took two of these on-line tests, as honestly as I could, and discovered that my retirement happy place is Boulder, CO (someplace that I’ve never been) because I am (apparently) “a cross between Georgia O’Keeffe with Henry David Thoreau…. an artsy-creative soul who understands the value of alone time and the freedom of the American West”. (Insert dramatic eye roll here!) Survey 1
I also discovered that I am “a seeker” apparently because “friends describe (me) as reserved, thoughtful, and as having a rich intellectual inner world.” Survey 2 (Feel free to replace these descriptions with adjectives of your own…but remember…I control the comment key!)
During our recent three-week road trip, we had the chance to visit with many great friends and family, all of whom are retired. Since I knew many of these people long before they left their jobs, it was interesting to see similarities and differences in their pre-retirement and post-work personalities. One of these friends, who now spends as much time dancing as she can, shared that other than at the occasional wedding, prior to retirement she had last danced when she was a teen. This past summer she danced at her High School Reunion and thought to herself, “why haven’t I been dancing all along. I LOVE this!” She immediately signed up for jive lessons, and has continued with a variety of dance lessons/local dances ever since. For me, it was creative writing. I did stacks of academic writing during my career (Language Policy anyone?) but it wasn’t really until retirement that I started creative writing again and discovered (thirty-five years later) how deeply I missed it.
This got me thinking about how our personalities can transform themselves in retirement – and what control we have over this (barring unpreventable circumstances). Retirement is the perfect time to refine, reinvent and let the real you come out and play. You no longer need to act a certain way because it is expected of your profession, or to do something (or not do something) just because you always did. It is a perfect time to break old habits, try new things and rekindle old passions!
A post from Starts At Sixty has been making its way around the Internet recently. You may have seen it.
I am a Seenager (Senior Teenager)
I have everything that I wanted as a teenager, only 50 years later.
I don’t have to go to school or work.
I get an allowance every month.
I have my own place.
I don’t have a curfew.
I have a driver’s license and my own car. The people that I hang around with are not scared of getting pregnant, and they do not use drugs, and they do not have acne. Life is great!
Okay, so maybe our skin may not be clear and smooth, not all of us should be driving cars, and many of us have a whole new version of medicinal drugs…but you get the point. There is no time to wait to be the you that you always wanted to be. What are you waiting for?