LIVING WELL LATER IN LIFE: Emotional and Social Preparation for RETIREMENT

LIVING WELL LATER IN LIFE: Emotional and Social Preparation for RETIREMENT

by Michael Townshend

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Overview

LIVING WELL LATER IN LIFE: Emotional and Social Preparation for RETIREMENT by Michael Townshend

There are many resources on the topic of Retirement, already. Most of them address the financial considerations.

This is important to the Retirement decision. If we don’t have enough income, Retirement will be problematic.

This book addresses the fears and challenges faced by those who are over age 50 and endeavoring to be relevant in the workforce, as well as preparing themselves for transition into their Retirement years.

I show the reader ways to find the “promise” and the “opportunity” that lies just beneath the surface as we advance in age both within the world of work and as we prepare ourselves emotionally for retirement.

I describe simple approaches to help the reader see their situation in a new light and discover promising options for a bright future.

I hope that this book will lift the spirits of even the most fearful reader.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781524696719
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Publication date: 06/19/2017
Pages: 372
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.77(d)

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

What is "Living Well"?

A life well lived is one that is lived powerfully and is characterized, at a minimum, by the following:

[] Happiness

[] Harmonious Relationships

[] Self-Assurance

[] Absence of Regrets

[] Wisdom

[] Zest for Living

WHEN SOMETHING HAPPENS unexpectedly, something that alters our lives inexorably, it is easy to feel like we are helpless victims of our circumstances, that life has dealt us a fatal blow.

As we make our way through life we invariably experience a wide variety of changes such as: the loss of a job, the termination of a committed relationship, the death of a loved one, debilitating illness, the many challenges of growing older physically, and the like. Traumatic change can leave us feeling we are in a no-win situation, that there is no way to escape the feeling of doom.

It is at times like these, when it is easy to lose hope, we are most likely to feel powerless. All too often, we mistakenly consider that our value as a person is determined by outside factors such as our job, our youth, or our relationship with a loved one.

Over the course of my career, counseling thousands of people undergoing stressful and unsettling Change, I have witnessed a multitude of scenarios for coping with unwelcome new circumstances.

I have concluded that the way in which someone responds at a crucial time is quite critical, as there is a clear cause-and-effect relationship between an individual's reaction to Change and the eventual outcome reached (both quantitatively and qualitatively).

I would like to share some common-sense strategies that have proved to be useful, as we grow older. These include techniques for self-improvement and useful exercises for the body, the mind, and the spirit that, when practiced over a period of time every day, will enable those of us in transition (that would be all of us) to meet the challenges ahead in an effective and fulfilling way – ultimately resulting in greater self-awareness, accomplishment, and happiness.

Indeed, the overwhelming majority of clients that I have counseled over the years have successfully navigated their way through even the most turbulent times. In fact, their improved circumstances ended up being in stark contrast to their initial circumstances and reaction, when they had anticipated the worst conclusion imaginable. In the end, most have gained, not lost.

What is Living Well?

Living Well is an approach to life that allows us to take charge of our circumstances, to recognize the inevitable good that will arise from any series of events and to make of the most of any change, every day.

A life well lived is one that is lived purposefully and memorably and is characterized by, at a minimum, the following:

• A general, unshakeable feeling of Happiness

• Consistently Harmonious Relationships

• High level of Self-Assurance

• An absolute Absence of Regrets

• A reliable presence of Wisdom

• A Zest for Living that can be recognized by others

I now know that the potential for all the above conditions resides within each of us. These are not characteristics we need to develop but rather, qualities to discover, qualities that lie dormant in each of us. While these attributes may be buried deep within, nonetheless, they exist – like diamonds in a mine, waiting to be excavated.

Let me share with you a parable from the most profound Buddhist teaching called The Lotus Sutra. The story is called "The Hidden Jewel."

A STORY- The Hidden Jewel

A wealthy man was traveling on a long journey. He was very tired and lonely at the end of several days of difficult travel. As evening approached, he saw a man on the side of the road who had set up camp for the night and who was roasting a large rabbit over a fire.

The wealthy man approached the stranger and asked if he could share the warmth of the fire. He was delighted to find that the stranger welcomed his company and generously offered to share his feast and his tent for the night. The stranger seemed to go out of his way to be generous with him and to talk congenially into the late evening after the delicious meal.

The stranger said that he was not on a journey but that he had experienced some misfortunes and was without a home. Still, he was cheerfully willing to share what he had and enjoyed the company of anyone who happened along.

The wealthy man offered to assist the stranger but found that the stranger was a proud person who preferred not to accept handouts. He expressed deep gratitude to the wealthy man for his offer and suggested that they turn in.

The wealthy man was the first to awake the next morning. He sincerely desired to assist this new friend but did not want to embarrass him by trying again to give him money.

Instead, the wealthy man took a precious jewel from his purse that was extremely valuable, worth well beyond the financial needs of most people over a lifetime. He quietly sewed the jewel into the lining of the stranger's cloak, assuming that by the time the stranger discovered the jewel, the wealthy man would be long gone and, thus, embarrassment would be avoided. He returned to his journey shortly after the stranger awoke and after he had profusely thanked the stranger for his assistance and friendship.

Over the next ten years, the stranger continued to wander, suffering greatly from the winters and regular scarcity of food.

One day when the stranger was lying by the side of the road and suffering the pain of hunger and cold, the wealthy man happened along once again. Finding his friend in this condition, he immediately carried him to the nearest town for shelter and food. He stayed with him for several days until the stranger's health had sufficiently improved.

Recognizing the wealthy man, the stranger thanked him for his help and told him that he had rethought his previous prideful refusal of help and felt that he should have accepted his friend's generosity.

At this point, the wealthy man asked him what had become of the jewel. The stranger said that he didn't know of any jewel. So, the wealthy man searched the cloak and found that it was still in the lining just as he had left it.

The Moral

We all possess a "hidden jewel" that many of us have yet to discover. This precious jewel holds the promise of unimaginable happiness because it represents the profound wisdom and vast potential intrinsic in each of us. Once we realize that this inherent treasure exists, deep within our life, we recognize we have the power to take control and determine our own destiny. The challenge becomes to learn how to detect and then fully utilize this tremendous good fortune that we all possess.

By adopting an optimistic perspective, the unlimited resources at our disposal become more and more apparent. We find our past experiences of overcoming obstacles, our ability to practice patience and perseverance, our sense of humor and appreciation and our indomitable spirit to always progress - these combine to create a diamond-like life that can withstand anything, and that shines for all time.

A Story – Never Give Up

My friend studied hard for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam. But despite his efforts, he failed the exam numerous times, exasperatingly sometimes just by one or two points. But he just kept taking it, over and over every time it was offered. He wouldn't give up.

Although he studied very hard for each examination, he just kept missing in one area or another. I used to worry that his frustration would shake his naturally positive personality. But he just kept trying, and was determined never to feel embarrassed.

What a spirit! He understood something very important. Happiness in life is not just about outcomes. Our attitude to enjoy the journey is what counts. "Winning" and "losing" are artificial measures. How often does a "win" turn out to be a "loss," and vice versa?

He never felt ashamed because he did not define himself by the outcome. Rather, he came to enjoy his persona as the guy who never stopped trying. Even though he felt awkward when he received his grades, his friends and family deeply admired him and were inspired immensely. My friend? Well he just kept trying and finally passed. He was promoted to a top financial position at a Fortune 500 company. His bosses have re-named him "Relentless."

Most importantly, he now knows he can accomplish whatever goal he sets – and enjoy every step of the way.

CHAPTER 2

The Cycle of Emotions: Recognizing and Managing Emotions During Change

[] Expect Waves of Emotions

[] Prepare for Awkwardness and Ambiguity

[] Rely on Patience and Curiosity

LIFE IS CHANGE. Life is a series of challenges. Some of the changes and challenges we face turn out well. Some don't. What I have learned – both in business and any other aspect of life – is that what matters is how a person reacts to these challenges, and CHANGE.

When a drastic, unexpected, or unwanted Change occurs in our business or private lives – whether it is the loss of a job, a merger, or a downsizing, or a personal loss, the loss of a partner – the vast proportion of us tend to react rashly, creating the potential for negative consequences in the future. When our prosperity and well-being hinge on our response, we don't want the outcome to be one of regret, thinking to ourselves, "If only I hadn't said that." "If only I hadn't done that." "If only I had known, then things would have turned out better." We don't want to look back and have to say, "Hindsight is 20/20."

When you are facing a major transition, remind yourself that your response at that moment will determine how things turn out in the end, whether or not you achieve your aspirations and goals.

An individual under intense pressure may experience emotional reactions that startle him or her and cause additional distress. These reactions have been compared to being on an "emotional roller coaster," with extreme highs and extreme lows.

The Cycle of Emotions

The noted psychologist, Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, in her hallmark study, On Death and Dying, was the first researcher to identify and describe in vivid detail the cycle of emotions that many of us experience when facing far-reaching changes in our lives. She called them "Stages of Grief."

Any one of us may experience any or all of these stages when under extreme stress or suffering a loss. I find it useful to identify these stages, to prepare for these feelings, and to manage them. Please remember: these reactions are entirely Normal.

Take comfort in the fact that YOU ARE NOT UNIQUE and YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Recognizing the stages that are common to the human condition will help you to:

• Prepare yourself for awkwardness and ambiguity in the face of change.

• Guide yourself in these times with Patience and Curiosity.

I call these "waves" or "stages" of change and point them out here because they are applicable to any situation where trauma, loss, or unwanted Change is occurring.

Examining these stages of emotional reactions will provide insight into the grieving process so that, when you experience loss you won't be stunned by what you are feeling. You will be able to acknowledge that this experience is necessary as a first step in recovering and moving forward toward a bright future.

Anticipation

In most of the experiences that have been shared with me about the workplace over the years, the fact that Change was brewing or that a Change had occurred was just NOT a surprise. Not at all.

Most people receive a warning sign of some sort. I'll bet that you did, too. This is not to say that you really knew for sure, but you probably had a hunch that something was up. Perhaps you were hearing the gossip going around, or you might have noticed management was doing something different.

A Story – Rumormongers Predict a Plant Closing

I was called in to help with a plant closing in the Midwest some years ago. I arrived the week prior to the announcement of the closing to the employees. Everything seemed "hush-hush." Only the plant's most senior managers and Human Resources staff had been told that the company's headquarters had decided to close this plant. They asked me to consult to the management to minimize the likelihood of violence and negative local press.

In our first meeting, one of the managers commented that the "secrecy pact" was working quite well. They were sure that no one in the plant knew of the impending closure. I was quick to point out, however, that if this was not already the subject of rumor and mounting anxiety, this would be a first in my experience. I cautioned the management to be aware of signs of stress at all levels (including among themselves) and to move ahead without delay.

Several days later, a meeting of all employees was called with only a minimum of notice. As the employees filed into the makeshift auditorium, I sat in the back row and listened carefully. I knew that I'd be able to gauge the crowd's collective emotions and, thus, be more helpful to the entire group with that knowledge.

As employees entered the room, I heard phrases like "Well, this is it!" "I told you it would happen this week!" "I wonder how long they'll keep my shift running," and so forth.

I was not surprised in the least. As always, people in the plant had read signals and had judged the demeanor of management to easily surmise the state of affairs.

The employees of that plant had noticed the decreasing level of incoming orders as well as managers' reluctance to reorder component stock and simple supplies.

Most telling of all were three requests for employment verification related to mortgage applications, which were being "sat on" by Human Resources for more than a week. This delay was highly unusual and the word had spread like wildfire through the plant.

Rumormongers are often uncanny in their accuracy, right down to predicting dates and times when changes will be announced. Later you may even find yourself entertained to notice just how precise those rumors were.

Nonetheless, it's important to beware of the rumor mills! The hunches are not always correct and can cause great unnecessary anxiety. Unfortunately, the one thing those people spreading the rumors always seem to get wrong is the reason for the impending action. Usually, there is the tendency to assign blame to someone and this only confuses everyone involved. This then transforms an already difficult situation into one that is dangerously hateful, fueling the flames of anger throughout the organization.

As for non-work-related changes, here too, there is usually some sort of sign that change is in the offing.

Although we are often "warned" of an impending change, that is no consolation at all. Besides, the next stage is where we first recognize a significant emotional "bump."

In my position as a consultant, I always advise managers to make the announcement as soon as possible. There is tremendous pain for people in an organization where a change is imminent but delayed. This happens all too often. So much time goes by that it seems like everybody and his dog knows that something is about to happen and nerves start to fray. The atmosphere gets stranger and stranger. This is a miserable situation that could easily be avoided.

Shock

This is sure to hit just about everyone. Often, we don't really see that it has set in. It's others around us who tell us that we're acting strangely – that we don't seem like ourselves and we are not sticking with our normal routines.

Well, although we may have seen the change coming, perhaps with precision, we are still quite shocked when the announcement at work is actually made or when the CHANGE actually occurs.

I think that this occurs because we have left the world of "potential" and entered "reality". Now, fears confirmed, we are confronted in real-time with a new reality that is unfamiliar and extremely unsettling.

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "Living Well Later in Life"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Michael Townshend.
Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Preface, ix,
Acknowledgements, xiii,
Introduction, xv,
PART ONE LIVING WELL DURING TIMES OF CHANGE,
Living Well - Introduction, 3,
Chapter 1 What is "Living Well"?, 11,
Chapter 2 The Cycle of Emotions: Recognizing and Managing Emotions During Change, 19,
Chapter 3 Managing Change: Strategies for Success, 48,
Chapter 4 Happiness Now- Happiness for a Lifetime, 82,
PART TWO OUR PLACE IN THE WORLD OF WORK AFTER AGE 65,
Chapter 5 The Buggy Whip Reality, 111,
Chapter 6 Technology Challenges, 123,
Chapter 7 Generational Challenges, 127,
Chapter 8 Are We Drawing Lines in the Sand?, 142,
PART THREE GROWING OLDER - GRACEFULLY (JOYFULLY),
Chapter 9 How We See Ourselves, 149,
Chapter 10 The FEAR of Aging, 164,
Chapter 11 The REALITY of Aging, 180,
PART FOUR DECISIONS REGARDING RETIREMENT FULLY PREPARING OURSELVES EMOTIONALLY AND SOCIALLY (BEYOND FINANCIAL PLANNING),
Chapter 12 What is "Retirement"?, 197,
Chapter 13 The FEAR of Retirement and Aging, 205,
Chapter 14 When Should I Retire?, 231,
Chapter 15 Retirement Planning, 258,
Chapter 16 My Care Contract, 284,
Chapter 17 Relationships During Retirement, 309,
Chapter 18 Navigating Retirement, 332,
Chapter 19 A Final Note: Appreciating Your World-The Key to Happiness, 348,
Bibliography, 355,

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