RECENTLY, I celebrated my “retirement birthday” — after 25 years in Singapore, I reached 65 years of age.
When I was 15, I thought 65 was really ancient. There are generally negative connotations about this age. Phrases like “over the hill”, “the best is behind us” and “take it easy” characterise this important milestone age.
But what if it does not need to be this way? What if we had a new definition of what it means to be 65?
What if we called it the “re-tyre-ment” age? What if we said “re-tyre and thrive at 65”?
When your car tyres are wearing out, you can get them retreaded — in effect, it is like re-tyring your car.
What if, instead of retiring, 65 is a time when we “re-tyre” to get ready for the next journey?
To mark my birthday milestone, I took the “re-tyre-ment” definition seriously and it changed the way I celebrated.
So what did I do?
• I gave my staff the day off;
• I stayed in bed till late;
• I did not answer any mail or make any Facebook posts;
• I watched my favourite TV programmes;
• I took my dog for a fun walk;
• I marvelled at the sky and at the wonder of being alive;
• I remembered who I was and vowed to be true to myself;
• I read all the wonderful wishes from friends all over the world;
• I reflected on how lucky my life has been; and
• I told my wife how much I loved her.
How to re-tyre
It is a time to Reflect - Enjoy - Thank – Yodel – Recharge – Express:
Stop and think. At 65, you now have wisdom and experiences that help you understand life better. It is time to look back at all the good as well as the difficult periods of your life.
Remember what you have learnt and re-pack your bags for the next phase. Quiet the mind so the soul can speak.
Tip: Take one hour to reflect on all that life has taught you.
Do things that you have been putting off for a long time. So often in our “busyness”, we postpone enjoyment.
At 65, it is time to enjoy the present moment and savour all the great things that you have in your life.
Tip: Recall all the things that you really enjoy and vow to do them more often.
We often forget about all the people who have enabled us to get to where we are today — the teachers, parents, brothers and sisters, the aunt or uncle who really believed in us, the great friends who are still with us.
When we give thanks, it does not just help the person we are thanking — it also makes us feel good.
Tip: Make a list of all the people in your life who helped you to get to where you are today and if there are any whom you have not thanked, contact them and give them a heartfelt “thank you”.
A wise professor friend of mine recently told me: “If you can find one sheep that can yodel, then there is a possibility that all sheep can yodel.”
So often in your life, you “shelve” interesting ideas because people tell you they are impossible.
At 65, it is time to revisit those “impossible” dreams or desires. Take some giant or baby steps towards re-living those dreams. It’s time to yodel.
Tip: Revisit the ideas you once dreamt of trying — play the piano, visit the North Pole, and so on. Then find a way to turn them into reality.
Do you rarely take the time to recharge your batteries, thinking that you will rest when you reach 65?
This is a wrong notion and causes you to burn out early. Remember that when you have exerted yourself, you need to stop and plug into a regenerating power source.
Tip: Remember when you felt on top of the world and recall what you were doing that made you feel that way. Experiment with a variety of things — it could be yoga, massage, laughter, music. Whatever it is, find it and do it.
How often in your life have you been your authentic self? How often have you said, “Yes this is me — this is what I was put on earth to be or do”?
Far too often, we sacrifice who we are and suppress our real self for the needs of others.
Well, 65 is the age to leave that all behind you — it is time to be you!
Remember that out of the seven billion people on earth, there is only one “You”.
At 65, you now have something to say and the world needs to hear you express yourself.
Tip: Ask yourself: “What is it I do, which even when I don’t put in much effort, I do it better than anyone I know?” Then go and find a way to do it. Express yourself.
So, if you recently passed 65 or are about to be 65, don’t retire — “re-tyre” instead and get ready for the next exciting phase of your life.
Article by Philip Merry, founder/chief executive officer of the Global Leadership Academy who is proud to be a Singapore permanent resident