Retire From Work But Not From Life – The Art of Positive Aging

Positive AgingI was honoured to be asked to be a guest contributor for Donna Connolly’s Retirement Reflection Summer Series: Favourite Retirement and Lifestyle Bloggers. I thought it was a wonderful idea to get to know other bloggers in my niche and also to introduce myself and what my blog Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond is all about.

When I retired some five years ago now, I took early retirement to spend more time with my husband who had already retired. I eagerly looked forward to the day I wouldn’t have to get up and rush off to work. I had lists of all the things I wanted to do and of course there would be journeys of discovery with travel plans we had made.

Life was supposed to be perfect – so why didn’t I feel that way?

After we had taken a long holiday throughout Asia and China, I came back home and after a few months really wondered what I would do with my life. Yes, I had the lists but I had lost my motivation and really couldn’t settle into being ‘retired’. I had retired from work but I was also on the path to retiring from life and I was having an identity crisis. My work and job had defined me for so long and now I was at a loss and felt adrift.

Of course, I loved spending time with my husband, and also looking after my gorgeous grandson one day each week. But having worked full time for thirty years I realised I didn’t really have a plan for ME for the next thirty years!

That is when Sizzling Towards 60 was born and like many, I decided to start a blog. I’ve recently added the ‘& Beyond’ as I will turn 60 in August and I will still be Sizzling that is for sure! I’m very passionate about being fit, fabulous, healthy and happy and I wanted to spread the message that aging can be such a positive experience. One of my first blog posts was ‘Why Positive Aging is Positively Wonderful’ and I now have written several posts on the subject.

One of the keys to positive aging is ATTITUDE with a capital ‘A’.

It all comes down to you and how you view life. Sure our bodies age but that doesn’t mean we have to give up. Living an active life is possible through regular exercise, eating a well-balanced diet and making sure that you nourish your mental and spiritual health. “The Australian Psychological Society describes ‘positive aging’ as ‘a term used to describe the process of maintaining a positive attitude, feeling good about yourself, keeping fit and healthy, and engaging fully in life as you age.”

Having a purpose is another important factor in Positive Aging.

In my post ‘Why Having a Purpose is the Key to Positive Aging’, I talk about the people of the Japanese island of Okinawa. They have the largest population of people who live happily to one-hundred. Their philosophy is that they live by ‘Ikigai’ which means everyone has a reason for being – a reason to get up in the morning. As we age and retire from working life, it is easy to fall into a rut and slowly withdraw from society. By having a purpose in our life no matter how small, it gives us reason to greet each day with enthusiasm. A purpose can include making a contribution to our family and community, and fulfilling our potential in terms of our own abilities and capacities.

Being a role model for your family.

With age comes experience and hopefully wisdom. As a parent and grandparent, I realise that I am a role model for my family. Children and grandchildren take their cues from us and therefore setting a healthy attitude to our own life is an excellent way to lead by example.

Being Grateful.

This year, I started a morning ritual. Instead of waking and immediately turning to social media, I make a coffee and think of at least one thing I am grateful for. It is amazing how gratitude can have such a positive impact on our lives. We learn to be happy from within and to appreciate what is important to us – our family and our friends.

So, have I convinced you that Positive Aging is positively wonderful? Perhaps you already knew that but if you didn’t, I hope you feel that way now.

I would love you to visit me over at Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond and say hello. I also host two link up parties: Over the Moon which is a weekly link up for everyone, each Monday, and a monthly link up just for Grandmothers – we call it the Blogging Grandmothers Link Up. If you are a blogger, I’d love you to link up with us. You can find the details at my website.

My motto is “Let’s Keep Sizzling!”

Sue on Positive Aging
I’m Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond. I live in Brisbane, Australia. I’m a wife, mother and Nan and I love to run! I blog about keeping fit, fabulous, healthy and happy during midlife and beyond. I’m all about positive aging and at nearly 60 (in August) I love to encourage all women who have reached this special time in their life, to realise their full potential. I would love you to visit my website, leave a comment and we can get to know each other. I’m all about connecting with other women in midlife and beyond and sharing our experiences.
Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond

From Retirement Reflections:

Thank you to all who have been following and contributing to this Summer Series. It has been my pleasure to introduce you to some of my favorite bloggers. Thank you to Sue for providing us with such an inspiring and thought-provoking post on positive aging. I encourage you to check out her site, where this month her posts are all about YOU!
Please join us again next Sunday, same time, same place, for Kate Crimmins ‘A Backward Glance at Retirement’! I look forward to seeing you there!

66 Replies to “Retire From Work But Not From Life – The Art of Positive Aging”

  1. Attitude is (almost) everything and it sounds like you have the right outlook on your retired life. As for me, I am enjoying this new life also – I can’t imagine going back to work. In fact, I enjoy listening to the traffic reports in the morning just to remind myself that they are no longer a “thing” for me. Yippee!
    Janis recently posted…Hearts and Crafts of OaxacaMy Profile

  2. Hi, Janis – Your traffic report is my school bus driving by…reminding me of my ‘new life’. I agree that attitude is everything. Thanks for following and contributing to this series!

  3. Sue you are such an inspiration to us all – your positive outlook and your amazing ability to run marathons are just two of the things that constantly amaze me. I may never run a marathon, but I intend to have an attitude that embraces this stage of life because it is a fantastic time to be alive isn’t it?
    Leanne | crestingthehill recently posted…A DAITH PIERCING UPDATEMy Profile

    1. Hi, Leanne – Your words echo my thoughts exactly. I get such inspiration from Sue. This stage of life is truly incredible…if you stay positive and focus on the beauty around you.

  4. Having a purpose to get up in the morning is so important. You hear all these stories of people who retired and died a week later and I feel like it’s because they lost their purpose and didn’t find a new one.

    1. Hi, Jennifer – I agree that purpose is incredibly important, especially at this stage of life. There is also much current research saying that how we transition into retirement has huge impact on our physical and mental well-being. Sudden drops in activity, motivation and stress can wreck havoc on our overall health. Many companies are now offering gradual transitioning programs for those about to retire from high stress positions. Staying physically and mentally active when we retire is essential!

    1. That’s an important point about purpose also finding you. This is a good reminder to remain open and responsive to both kinds of purpose in our retirement years.

    1. It is lovely to meet you Ally and I thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. You are so right regarding age and attitude. I wrote a post about Attitude once and it wasn’t just related to retirement. A positive attitude doesn’t have a time limit or an age limit. Have a great day and keep Sizzling! 🙂
      Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond recently posted…Tuesday’s tip: Are you making the most of each new day?My Profile

  5. Hi, Ally – I agree that Sue’s tips are important to all ages and stages of life. Thanks for following this series!

  6. Hi, Sue – You’re up early! Congratulations on your half marathon yesterday. Thank you for for this inspiring post, and thank you for commenting to each reader (there hopefully will be a few more comments to come in). I greatly appreciate it!

  7. Enjoyed reading your post Sue. We do have to focus on the positive or we might get depressed. I try to always have this thought in my head when I feel bad or anxious about growing older – at least I’m still here!!! See, my brother passed away in his early 40s, so yes, thank the Lord I’m still here!!! Thank you Donna for linking up Sue’s post and co-hosting with me at the #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty. I shared this post.
    Grammy Dee from Grammy’s Grid recently posted…Happy 4th of July 2017!My Profile

    1. Hi, Dee – I am so sorry to hear that your brother passed away so young. I wholeheartedly agree with both you and Sue that a positive attitude is the essential ingredient to healthy aging. Thanks for sharing this post – I appreciate it greatly!

    2. I’m sorry about your brother Dee. Life can be hard can’t it but we do have to keep going and try to have a positive outlook. I lost my Dad 36 years ago, my Mum 31years ago and my brother almost 2 years ago. All in their mid-sixties. I could focus on that as I’m turning 60 soon but we have to focus on living the best life we can.
      Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond recently posted…Thursday Thoughts: What did I get up to in June? A sentence a day JuneMy Profile

    1. Good luck, Molly! I completely understand the difficulty and anxiety of separating from a long career. Reading your blog (and seeing your very funny sense of humour) makes me believe that you will come out fine…and as Sue says, will continue to sizzle! You definitely are in the right corner of the blogosphere. The folks here are very supportive and have great retirement transition tips and strategies.

    2. Oh Molly you made my day by writing that I inspire you. Of course you will feel anxious about retirement and that is normal. You are now embarking on a new but wonderful life experience. I’m here if you ever need to talk because I did find it very difficult during my first six months or so after finishing work.
      Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond recently posted…Thursday Thoughts: What did I get up to in June? A sentence a day JuneMy Profile

  8. This is a very inspiring post! I agree with all the points your raised here, particularly about having a purpose. For me, it’s the key to happiness, and it’s a kind of fulfillment that you cannot get anywhere else. It comes in many forms, and in my experience, I’ve done it a few times before by volunteering in a soup kitchen and by extending help to others even in my little way.

    I also believe that keeping fit and healthy is a good foundation for positive aging. Even simple breathing exercises can have a positive effect. It creates a sense of balance, lightens up your mood and fills you with positivity. I also read that aqua exercises are good since they help keep you active without the risk of pain and injuries.
    Samantha recently posted…Securing independence through LTC quotes this Fourth of JulyMy Profile

    1. Hi, Sam – Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. I agree that Sue’s Guest Post is very inspiring. I like your reminder that even the little things can make a huge difference. And exercise geared at reducing the risk of pain and injury is very important as we age. I’m off to check out your site now.

    2. Hi Samantha! Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and you sound as if you are certainly living life to the full. Happiness is the key and I find that my exercising really helps me be more confident and less stressed. I’ve been wanting to try aqua aerobics but it is still on my to do list! Have a great week!
      Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond recently posted…Thursday Thoughts: What did I get up to in June? A sentence a day JuneMy Profile

  9. Hi Sue:

    I have been retired for exactly four days, and I have to say that I am still a little worried about my “purpose” now that the structure and goals of my career will no longer be the primary defining factor. For the next little while, I will be busy with the process of buying a house, selling a house, and making a move to another province. However, after that, I think that I will need to put a framework of goals in place that might look a bit work-like, or risk falling into aimlessness and depression. The difference will be that these goals will be decided and monitored by me, the boss of me, instead of by someone else. Of course my life will be more free form that it was during my career phase, but it won’t be completely unstructured either.

    Jude
    Dr Sock recently posted…Painting Canada’s LandscapesMy Profile

    1. Hi Jude! Oh happy retirement! You seem to understand what is ahead though. Busy initially because of moving etc but also being mindful that you do need some goals or plans in place because there are a lot of hours to fill when you leave work. However, the good part is you are the boss of you! I hope the move goes well and you have a sizzling retirement!
      Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond recently posted…Thursday Thoughts: What did I get up to in June? A sentence a day JuneMy Profile

  10. Congratulations on your first week of retirement, Jude. What I know about you, that other readers may not know, is that you will never sit idle. You have way too many talents, interests and things on the go (including your gorgeous grandchildren)! I look forward to featuring your Guest Post as well. It is wonderful to be able to read/share so many different perspectives on retirement!

    1. Thanks for your kind remarks, Donna. I guess what I am aiming for is a life of purpose — something in between lying like a blob on the couch staring at a screen, and running in frenzied circles just to feel busy. I do know that I had way too much busyness in my recent work life, which left little energy to do much more than be a couch potato when not at work!

      Jude
      Dr Sock recently posted…Big Changes are Happening!My Profile

    1. Great minds think alike, Stephanie. Walking and yoga are my two favourite forms of exercise. The stretching in yoga in invaluable…especially as we age. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    2. Hi Stephanie! Walking and yoga are a great combination for an exercise plan. Running is my release but I also enjoy walking and just taking in my surroundings – I find it hard to do that when I’m running. I’ve only started yoga in the last 18 months but I love it and my body loves me after a session. Have a beautiful day and thanks for the comment x
      Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond recently posted…Thursday Thoughts: What did I get up to in June? A sentence a day JuneMy Profile

  11. So much wisdom in this post Sue. I think it is normal to feel a bit lost after retiring from full time work. I wonder if having too much of a plan just means filling time with things that don’t have much personal meaning. Rather, to have had the ‘a bit lost’ experience you and many others have, provides an opportunity for true reflection to determine where value lies, rather than filling life wiht busy-ness for the sake of it.

    1. This is incredibly wise, Jan. And incredibly encouraging. It is often our moments of feeling lost that cause us to reflect, refocus and come back fresher and stronger. Thanks for sharing this!

  12. Thanks Donna for this wonderful guest post series and Sue for this inspiring post. As our bodies age, it is easy to get caught up in what’s not working as well as it used to, but there are so many things in life that truly do get better with age. I’m loving getting to know the two of you through #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty. Keep on sizzling!

    ~Christie

    1. Hi, Christie – Thanks for commenting and for co-hosting. I have greatly enjoyed getting to know you too! I agree that it is easy to complain about what is working. Focusing on the positive makes all of the difference!

    2. Hi Christie I’m so encouraged when I read comments like yours. It is lovely to connect with other bloggers and I think we give each other the support and encouragement to just write about what we feel is important. Being healthy and active with a positive attitude towards aging is very important to me. And yes, there are many things that do get better with age – just like a fine wine LOL:)
      Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond recently posted…Blogger’s Pit Stop #81My Profile

  13. Sue, I’ve spent some time on your blog and, now that I’ve read this post, will go back and read more.
    I appreciate your focus on staying healthy and positive as you sizzle very soon to 60! I’ll be 58 in August and am delighted to be retired and have time to write – my blog and other things – but I do still sometimes struggle with a missing sense of purpose. However, I’m in a good spot at the moment so am thinking that this ebb and flow over time is completely normal and understandable. I think that retirement is a time for “an embarrassment of riches.” When we have the opportunity to be as we wish for the last third of our lives, it can be hard to choose!
    Thanks for your post, Sue.

    1. Hi, Karen- I agree that ebb and flow over time is completely normal. I also agree that retirement can be an ’embarrassment of riches’….I’ll be borrowing that phrase. Thanks so much for stopping by. I greatly appreciate it!

    2. Oh I’m so pleased you have spent some time visiting me. My birthday is in August as well! I also agree that perhaps ebb and flow is a good way to live life. I do like to have a plan but I’ve learned that life can throw curve balls and sometimes we just have to go with the flow. I am very passionate about being healthy and active as I do believe it makes my attitude more positive and I hope I am a good role model for my grandchildren. Thanks for the comment and I hope to connect with you again.
      Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond recently posted…Blogger’s Pit Stop #81My Profile

    1. Oh thank you Clearissa. It really is all in the attitude and mindset. Hopefully by the time you retire you will have an idea what it will be like. It can be scary if you have worked for a long time but if you start to think about what you want before you make that change life will certainly be less stressful.
      Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond recently posted…Blogger’s Pit Stop #81My Profile

  14. Hi Sue! I’m a big fan of positive aging and have also been writing about it a lot–especially since I turned 60 two years ago. What that focus has done has helped me to be excited and happy about the process rather than dreading what might be next. It’s so wonderful to learn that it really is a time to look forward to–instead of only regretting what we could of or should have done. Thanks for spreading the news! ~Kathy
    Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com recently posted…10 Good Reasons To Sell That Big House and Get RightsizedMy Profile

  15. Congratulations, Sue, on this great post! Thank you, Donna, for featuring Sue and her blog. It’s wonderful to get to know other bloggers from around the world. Thank you for linking up at #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty. I’m sharing your link on social media.
    Carol (“Mimi”) from Home with Mimi
    Carol (“Mimi”) recently posted…Blogger’s Pit Stop Link Party #81My Profile

    1. Hi, Carol – Thanks so much for stopping by, commenting and sharing. I greatly look forward to hosting you, and many other ‘blogging grandmothers, on this site.

  16. Hi, Kathy – Thanks so much for stopping by. I second (or is that ‘third’ that our sixties are a time to look forward to, and are a time to shine. I, too, am looking positively at the road ahead!

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