When did you officially become a grown-up? Was it when you bought your own home, got married, had kids, hosted your first dinner party, or realised you could no longer go out two nights in a row?
Then suddenly, your kids are having kids, you’re on your second marriage, and you can’t handle one night out, let alone two. Yes, you’ve done a lot with your life already, the question is: what do you want to do now?
Just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean you should lower your expectations about where life will take you in the future. These days, people don’t just stop when they retire, they engineer a new semi-retired existence.
As long as you’ve taken the time to plan for retirement, there’s no reason why you can’t do something new. It just depends what floats your boat…
Going the extra mile
105-year-old Fauja Singh* may have received a British Empire Medal and a telegram from the Queen, but there’s something even more remarkable about him: he runs marathons. Fauja, a British Sikh, ran his first marathon in London aged 89 in six hours and 54 minutes. In 2011, aged 101 he completed the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in eight hours and 11 minutes. These days he prefers to run for fun.
Learning a new skill
70-year-old Nina Clayton* enrolled on a cake decorating course at her local college because she loved baking. She’d been thinking about going back to college for 40 years, so why not? Wyn Sheryn*, on the other hand, retrained as a furniture maker after many years of teaching. He started at Burnley College aged 57 and between 1993 and 2009 studied every City & Guild course he could. He now spends his time making furniture in his workshop.
Taking things to the extreme
Many people assume that retirees are too old to indulge in adrenaline-pumping activities, but that’s not the case for extreme sport devotees aged 60+. They make the most of their free time in retirement by enjoying a spot of sky-diving, kitesurfing and white water rafting. SOS UK (Skydivers Over Sixty society*) has more than 40 active members – 13 of whom hold the current UK formation skydiving record.
The new start-up generation
If you thought entrepreneurship was linked with youth, insight and luck, think again. An increasing number of over-50s are taking the plunge and setting up their own start-ups. After all, they have the experience, contacts, money and determination to succeed in business. Sam Taylor* is one such individual who, four years ago (aged 71), ditched a leisurely retirement in Spain to start an online business in Scotland. Sam combined his business experience with his wife Jo’s artistic skills and the business has gone from strength to strength ever since.
The ageless appeal of burlesque
One octogenarian who doesn’t intend to spend retirement wearing slippers and knitting is Lynn Miller*. And at 82, Lynn’s preferred hobby doesn’t leave much to the imagination. Taking up burlesque dancing at the ripe old age of 71, she has performed her striptease act (which she describes as comedy burlesque) in a number of cities around the UK. According to Lynn, she’s having the time of her life and what she’s doing proves it’s never too late to change careers.
These stories may be inspirational, but they don’t have to be the exceptions to the rule. The one thing linking all these tales is the individuals enjoying an incredible amount of freedom in their later years. They have the financial liberation to do what they want and the free time in which to do it. The secret to their success could be the secret to yours too: good financial planning and having the right pensions in place.
Back to burlesque-dancing Lynn Miller again, who says it’s never too late to follow your dreams. And you know what? We couldn’t agree more. If you’ve not already taken up the challenge to see whether you’re saving enough for the future you dream of – play picture this.
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