This blog has served as an initial draft for many thoughts, that have then resulted in a number of books. (‘The Power of the Group,’ ‘The Meaning of Life,’ ‘Purposeful Retirement’ – are all available on Amazon, with Rappleye (Dick) as the author)

‘Thriving in the Later Retirement Years’ is a current book that includes links for additional information, and should be available by year-end. Following is a glimpse of the later retirement years. More about Spirituality and Later Retirement Years in future posts.

The Later Retirement Years

No one ever talks much about the later retirement years.  It is, however, part of the journey.  A part that will become longer for many, as people are now tending to live longer.  Perhaps as a society we’ll address the challenges that come with this phase, as we struggle to deal with it and to make sense of the life we have been given.  Whether or not society finds the answers to these questions, we each must individually find our own answers.

As difficult as it may be, it is critical to remain positive.  If you haven’t learned the power of positive thinking, it’s time now  If you haven’t discovered who you are, it’s time now,.  If you haven’t found what makes you happy, it’s time now.  If you haven’t’ realized the need for relationships and connections, it’s time now.  If you haven’t explored and come to your own conclusions on where spirituality fits into your life, it’s time now.  If you haven’t updated your will, power of attorney, and other legal documents, it’s time now.  If you haven’t documented were your passwords are, and where other special document and possessions are, it’s time now.  If you haven’t come to peace with what death is and how it fits in the total scheme of things, it’s time now.

Decline is inevitable, and occurs earlier than we want to believe, but misery is not inevitable.  Accepting the natural order, and the fact that everything is temporary, can make life more meaningful and allow the shifting of attention to higher spiritual life and priorities.  One object of meditation, for example, is to learn to see the truths of impermanence.  It’s about non-judgmental awareness.  It’s about learning to live – to be happy in the absurdity of the situation.  Not an easy task, but clearly the challenge.

An example of one of the challenges in the later retirement years is depression.  We need to learn and accept that losses and suffering are a part of this phase.  It’s time to stay active and close to friends and family.  A secret to bearing decline and loss is to become more conscious of the roots linking us to others.  It’s not too late to learn.  Don’t let happiness elude you.  It’s not too late to still reach some of your goals and to reduce your regrets.  And it’s certainly not too late to reach out to family and friends – this is the time you need them the most … and they need you.

The four stages of adulthood are described by Carl Jung as (1) the Athlete – physical processes, (2) the Warrior – extending to conquering the world (accomplishing things, defeating other people), (3) the Stateman – trying and transcending your ego and identifying with your body (serving, making this a better place), and (4) Spiritual – realizing you are none of the three, but rather a spiritual being have a physical experience … then consciousness can shift out of the material world.