Renegade author Ernie J.Zelinski has published another compelling book about how to live life to the fullest. How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free: Retirement wisdom that you won't get from your financial advisor (2009) breaks conventions, challenges us to think out of the box, and gives us a thoroughly good read.
Rather than the conventional advice we read in the Wall Street Journal, he counsels us to retire as early as possible and to cut back on spending, instead of waiting until we've got millions in investments awaiting our retirement. As one who did so, he can speak from experience. Zelinski and many of his admirers (whose letters he publishes in the book) have found that they just don't need that much money to have a wonderful time after leaving their full-time job.
His mantra is that "retirement can set you free." It's a time, Zelinski writes, when you can discover your true self, your calling, your creativity. No longer do you have to bow to convention, to conformity, or to pleasing the ghosts of your parents. Now you can open up to experience, create a new identity, and you never need be bored.
Zelinski provides a thought-provoking list of 100's of "Activities for your Get a Life Tree," including:
- record the history of your home town
- walk barefoot through a mountain stream
- play the guitar that's been in the closet for 26 years
- make a movie
- have a heart-to-heart talk with a friend with no planned ending time
- learn how to swim
- research the Green Tortoise bus tours and choose one to take
- visit a cemetery and find an interesting epitaph
- and 100s more
I've been getting a taste of what he's talking about in the last few years, although I'm still working. One year ago, I uncovered my artistic side. I started making pictures using an ancient form of painting called encaustic. See my store at Etsy. I even had my 1st art exhibit a few weeks ago, where I sold 1/3 of the pictures.
I also started doing improvisational acting after meeting the wonderful improv coach, Daena Giardella. It's another passion and one I can imagine devoting more time to after I'm not working so much.
If you're thinking of leaving or downsizing from your work life and don't have alot of things that grab your attention outside of work, it's time to read Zelinski's book. Incorporating some of his advice BEFORE you retire is essential. Don't go to that retirement party and think you'll take some months to sleep late, exercise more, and see what comes up the next day and days to come. Make it happen before that.
Try new things. Deepen your interests and people connections outside of work right now. Joan Gancarski, one of the people I interviewed for my TV show, "Alivelihood: New Adventures As We Age," has made a pledge to try something new every day. That keeps her fresh and vibrant, which is not commonplace in people of any age.
Brain research tells us that the more we challenge ourselves to try new things, the more likely we are to avoid any form of dementia. Aside from the joy of new experiences, we are apt to keep ourselves brain-healthy until the day we die with this simple wisdom.
If you're at a loss about how to start to live wild and free, get in touch for a complimentary coaching conversation on the phone or Skype.