It’s hard to argue there’s not a bigger sentiment regarding retirement than once you retire, you will be happy. After all, retirement is the day you look forward to so you can finally start living, right? Unfortunately, this fairy-tale season of life doesn’t always make good on the promise.
Fight Having a “Destination Mentality”
This lie is everywhere. In nearly every retirement brochure or commercial you will find the quintessential couple holding hands at sunset on a beach or sailing. They look happy. It’s no wonder this lie is so prevalent. It’s also no wonder pre-retirees develop a destination mentality. A person with this viewpoint on life will look at retirement through the lens of “someday.”
I’ll be happy when someday…
- I can finally be done working
- I don’t have worry about money
- I can [fill in the blank] whenever I want (examples: golf, fish, travel, nap)
Changing Externals Doesn’t Change Internals
One of the biggest life-lessons a person can learn is changing an external circumstance doesn’t necessarily affect the condition of the heart. Author of Repurposed, Ben Taatjes says, “If you are unhappy working, then you will be unhappy during retirement.” That’s a sobering statement. We all know the differences between happiness and joy. And, sure, having a newfound life of freedom and leisure can bring a person happiness in some capacity, purely changing an external force cannot bring joy at a heart level.
Retirement Can’t Make You Happy. Contentment Will.
1 Timothy 6:6-12 says, “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” The truth is retirement, in and of itself, cannot make a person happy. This joy comes from having a relationship with our Creator combined with a content and grateful heart.
The good news is retirement CAN be a wonderful and joyful time. However, happiness in retirement will come from having purpose, serving others, following God’s call, leaving a legacy and impacting the next generation.
Question to consider: What’s the REAL reason you’re looking forward to retirement?
Co-Founder of Retire Repurposed