I read a number of e-newsletters, and a headline in one this week caught my eye. “Are you a human being, doing or becoming?” This particular article was in a marketing newsletter that was aimed at self-employed small business owners, and not referencing retirement. However, it struck a chord with me.
In some of our Route To Retirement materials we talk about doing versus being. Once we retire, we don’t need to be doers all the time. It’s OK just to be sometimes. And as we move toward our senior years, we tend to be more than do. This shift in mindset is not easy for some people, especially those who have been work oriented all their adult lives – those who took their identity from what they did in life – their work identity.
But there is more to that headline than being or doing. It is the becoming part. As the author pointed out, “in the plant kingdom, you have a choice – grow or die. You simply cannot remain stagnant or you’ll wither and die.” The same is true for humans. We need to keep expanding our thinking and awareness in order to grow. How do we do that at this stage of life? For one thing, it means getting off the sofa and out of the house. Try new things, different groups, places, activities, books. This may take some effort to get going, but the rewards will be well worth it.
A woman came to my program on life style planning in retirement. I wondered why she came to that program, because she was in her 80’s, and most attendees were 50-60ish. She made some contributions to the group, and when the program was over, she said to the other people in the room “I can tell you one thing for your plan: Say Yes!” I have never forgotten that message – say Yes! to life, to new experiences. That is how we keep growing.