209. The Modern Retiree Manifesto: A Framework for Retiring in the 21st Century

Lou Blaser (00:00:05) - Midlife is a time in our life when we are faced with so many transitions, some good, some not so much. Some are welcomed, and others that fall in the category of 'Seriously?'. Second Breaks is a show where we explore how we can thrive through, from, and, yes, despite our midlife transitions. I'm Lou Blaser, your host and the publisher of Midlife Cues. Midlife Cues is a weekly newsletter, a sort of weekly meditation if you must, on intentional living and personal growth in your life. Check it out and subscribe at midlifecues.com. That's midlife C-U-E-S, one word — dot com. Hello, my listener friend. Thank you for joining me for another episode of the podcast. Now, during the last few weeks, we have been doing a deep dive into the topic of retirement in the 21st century. We started the conversation with a short history of retirement, and then I presented the case for why reframing retirement is a critical must-do for our generation. I shared my personal story of retirement. I certainly learned a lot from that experience.

Lou Blaser (00:01:20) - And actually, my difficult experiences are really why I'm so driven to talk about this topic and to help you prepare for this transition. In the previous episode, we talked about the skills that we need in order to successfully navigate this transition, this retirement, however you define the word in the 21st century. And if you missed the previous episodes, I highly recommend that you take a listen. You can check them out on the feed. The series starts from episode 206, but I will also put a link on the show notes for those previous episodes. The show notes, of course, are at secondbreaks.com. Now, in this final episode in the series, I want to share an overview of a framework that I have been working on to serve as a guide as you consider, plan, and navigate this transition to this phase in your life. This framework is meant to be used, however you intend to carry out your retirement. So it's not prescriptive. It is not saying that retirement is this form or that form.

Lou Blaser (00:02:30) - It is meant to be flexible and adaptable to meet you wherever you are in your plans and to meet you however you define the word. Now, as I started to really dive into modern retirement in the 21st century, I realized that a framework is what we need to help us shape our experience. Why? Because there is no map. What used to be doesn't work anymore. And so we have to devise a new one for ourselves and for our generation. And yes, there's something called the New Map of Life. This is an initiative that the Stanford Longevity Center started a couple of years ago. You may have heard about it. I'll put a link to it on the show notes, but it's still in the beginning stages, and I find it's going to be more useful for the younger generation right now as they plan for a longer lifespan. So it's going to be useful for them in terms of how they're going to eventually think about this phase in their lives. But for those of us who are already knocking on 50 and beyond, no map for us. We have to figure this out for ourselves.

Lou Blaser (00:03:43) - We are the trailblazers, my friend. So that's great, right? That's why I think a framework could be useful. Now, framework is a word that we hear all the time. So let me just very quickly like level set what I mean when I use the word. A framework is a loose structure that gives guidance on what to consider and what to do. It is loose and flexible and allows for creative adaptation. By contrast, for example, a methodology — another thing that we hear all the time — a methodology by definition is more rigid and explicit in terms of the process and the steps that we are to follow. A framework is not like that. Like I said, it's loose, it's flexible. It's useful as a foundation so that we're not starting from scratch. A framework is also instructive in that we are guided through all the areas and factors that need to be factored in and whatever it is that we are doing. A framework also serves as an organizing tool so that we avoid being like all over the place, overly focused on one area and then forgetting about other equally important ones.

Lou Blaser (00:05:04) - This framework that I'm going to be discussing with you today is the result of my research from reading countless articles and books, listening to hours of related podcast topics, and having many conversations and interviews with people who are retired, who have retired or are planning their retirement. The framework covers five disciplines, and I want to give an overview of these five disciplines today, but I thought that it might be more interesting for a podcast episode to discuss the framework in a manifesto format. I think that this will likely make for a more fun listening experience instead of a like a dry discussion that makes me sound like I'm giving a lecture like I'm a teacher of some sort. Anyway, we're going to continue to expand on these five disciplines of the framework in future episodes. But for now, here it is in the form of the Modern Retiree Manifesto. First discipline. We put our well-being above all else. We recognize that caring for our bodies and our minds is the foundation of a fulfilling life, no matter what kind of experiences we want in retirement.

Lou Blaser (00:06:29) - We may not have always maintained healthy habits all our lives, but we resolve to work on those now. Every little bit helps. Every step in the right direction can positively impact our health. So we prioritize our health, not only our physical health but our emotional and mental health as well. Our choices and decisions today reflect the importance of our overall well-being, and we commit to nurturing our emotional well-being and cultivating a resilient mindset, fueling our journey with positivity and purpose. Second discipline. We value relationships. We understand that deep and meaningful connections are the heart and soul of a rich experience. But we also recognize that retiring from our corporate careers could mean leaving behind an environment that made networking and building connections easier and natural. And we accept that we must make a concerted effort going forward to continue building a support network that lifts us higher. And so we commit to investing time and energy to building and nurturing quality relationships. We will work towards fostering open and honest communication with our loved ones. And we won't shy away.

Lou Blaser (00:08:02) - We won't walk away from difficult topics that concern our well-being as we get older. Third discipline. We design our lifestyle thoughtfully. We may be retiring from our corporate lives, but we refuse to let retirement be a passive phase. We intend to seize every moment to explore, create and savor the joys of life. We thoughtfully consider our desired retirement experience, identifying what we need and what we want more of in our lives. Then we skillfully manage our time, using it in alignment with our needs and interests. We apply the lessons that we have learned in the past by striking a healthy balance between leisure and productivity, allowing ourselves to rest while pursuing growth and new adventures. Fourth discipline. We embrace personal growth and lifelong learning. The last thing we need is to grow stale and stop growing. Learning is growing, is changing, is living. We intend to keep our minds sharp and our spirits fired up. We will continue to expand our horizons, refusing our world to contract and get smaller. We will continue to learn and apply.

Lou Blaser (00:09:34) - We will continue to acquire new knowledge, explore new hobbies, and always, always challenge ourselves to become better versions of who we are. Fifth discipline. We seek purpose and meaning. Work does not end with retirement, but it stops being one thing and takes on new forms. And so we are no longer limited to one definition of work. We continue discovering, engaging work that taps into our expertise and interests and fuels our spirits. We continue to apply ourselves in meaningful endeavors to make a positive impact and to find relevance by contributing to the world and the people around us. We absolutely refuse to fade into irrelevance. Instead, we take advantage of our hard-earned wisdom, skills, and passions to leave a lasting legacy. My fellow midlifers, we are the voice of a generation. Our experiences are not our parents', and we have an opportunity to influence the narrative not only for ourselves but for the succeeding generation. Our dream is Empowered Midlifers in Retirement. Who remain active and engaged. Who contribute meaningfully in our communities, in our families and in society. Who remain relevant, whose perspectives are sought after, welcomed, and respected. Who are allowed to continue in our chosen fields. And who continue to live meaningful and purposeful lives in retirement and through old age.

Lou Blaser (00:11:24) - We are not deluded, nor are we in denial of the realities of this phase of our lives and of aging. But we embrace this time of life to move forward, guided by our values and self-leadership. We embrace change and proceed with the same sense of adventure as we had when we were younger. And we take care of ourselves so that we can live a healthy life for as long as we can. This manifesto is our rallying cry. I hope that you found this series on modern retirement in the 21st century insightful and useful. I'm actually finishing an accompanying workbook that you can use to drill down further, practice, and reflect on the skills and the framework as you plan for your retirement transition. I planned to have finished by the time I had this final episode, but life got in the way and I fell sick and all that kind of stuff. But I will update the show notes for this episode with the link to the workbook as soon as it's available. And of course, if you are subscribed to Midlife Cues, you're going to hear about the workbook as soon as it's finished, as soon as it's available through the newsletter.

Lou Blaser (00:12:52) - So that's another reason for you to check out Midlife Cues. If these episodes have sparked your interest and sense of urgency, I am also offering private consultations on this topic. Please check out loublaser.com/consult for details. I've listed the areas that I can advise on and details of how we can work together on that page. Again, it's loublaser.com/consult. All right. This ends the series on modern retirement in the 21st century. But I'll be back in a couple of weeks with a new episode that will continue our conversation on this important topic. I hope to chat with you in a couple of weeks. Until then, keep on making your dent, my friend. Cool beans.

209. The Modern Retiree Manifesto:  A Framework for Retiring in the 21st Century
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