If you’re reading a blog about positive aging, I’m relatively sure that you’ve reached the point in your life where you know that the most important things in life aren’t things.
The most important things, of course, are the people we love and those who love us. That’s why building extraordinary relationships is essential to a happy retirement. You can have all the money in the world. You can play golf seven days a week, but if you don’t have people to love, life can be pretty lonely.
It’s only stuff! You can’t even give it away.
It’s not about acquiring things anymore. All of our possessions – those things that we thought so necessary when we bought them – turn out to be just “stuff.” Perhaps we have cleared out our parents’ homes only to discover that all that stuff becomes, in the end, a burden. We don’t want it, and we can’t sell it. Heck, we can’t even give it away!
I remember when we were cleaning out my mother-in-law’s studio apartment after her death. There wasn’t one charitable organization that would come for her flat screen TV. Finally, we just put it out in the hall with a sign saying, “Free TV.” It was still there the next morning.
Consider the 50-year-rule.
What does matter, however, are the relationships we forge during our lives. My mom practiced the 50-year rule. She liked to think about things in relation to what difference they would make in 50 years. Wise woman.
If we employ the 50-year rule, we’ll see that very little that we do now will matter in 50 years except those things that we do with the people we love. Time spent with our children and their children. Time spent volunteering, perhaps, or time spent mentoring. Or even time spent protecting the environment.
91% of people in couples said their relationship with their partner was the most important thing for a happy retirement. 75% said that it was their partner or spouse that they would turn to in times of need. 83% overall said that strong personal relationships were very important in determining their happiness.
It isn’t only the relationship with our partner that’s important. It’s also the other beloved people in our lives. I still remember and embrace the time spent with my parents, grandparents, and aunts and uncles when I was a child. They still serve as mentors and models to my life. Today, I also have siblings and in-laws and grown children and grandchildren and long-time friends to consider.
Because building extraordinary relationships is paramount to a successful retirement, we’re starting a series of blogs on how to do it.
Since our relationships bring to our lives both our greatest joys and our greatest sorrows, they deserve some time and some consideration.
Many people go along year after year repeating the same arguments with the same people and suffering through the same disappointing holidays, but it doesn’t have to be that way
It is possible to build extraordinary relationships– to make them more joyous or, at least, less difficult. We just need a plan. So come back and spend some time with us over the next couple of weeks while we explore the best ways to build vibrant and fulfilling relationships.