But those of us who are part of the aging population have an opportunity to . Retirement provides an opportunity to become a source of inspiration to others, even as our hair grays and our memories weaken. When someone interacts with me at , I don't want them to see just an old man. To enlighten others to see beyond my wrinkles, I plan to whenever possible do the following:
Stop complaining. No one wants to listen to someone complain or be known as a complainer. Therefore, I will not lead conversations with what ails me. I will endeavor to focus on positives rather than dwell on negatives.
Listen and hear. When I engage with others I will pay close attention to what they are saying and wait my turn to speak. What others have to say has as much value as anything I may wish to say. While listening I will try to pay attention to the content and feelings behind the words, rather than planning what I will say next. I may not have all the answers, but I can surely give someone my undivided attention and allow them to have their say, instead of automatically jumping in with advice. I will try to remember that just because I am older does not necessarily mean I am wiser.
Do not be judgmental. Yes, I have years of experience and have been through a lot, but that does not give me the right to judge others. I am not living in their shoes and can never know the real story of the life they are living. I will try to remain objective, see things as they really are, and not judge.
Smile. There are many things aboutthat I do not like, but I will not live my retirement life wearing a frown. All I need to do is pick up a newspaper to read about others who have it much worse than me. There is always something in my life that I can smile about, and I will do my best to smile about it.
Be charitable.is not just about giving money but also sharing time and genuinely caring. I will do my best to try to be available to others in need, even if I can give no more than my time and attention.
Be realistic. I am no longer twenty and my behaving as if I were can be an embarrassment to me and those around me. I will try to accept my limitations, but not dwell on them. I may not be able to hit a home run, but I can still stand up at the plate and take my swings.
Live by example. I will try to practice what I preach when it comes to living a good life. Nothing rings more falsely than someone telling others how to live while doing the opposite. I will do my best to follow my own advice.
Dave Bernard is the author of Are You Just Existing and Calling it a Life?, which offers guidelines to discover your personal passion and live a life of purpose. Not yet retired, Dave has begun his due diligence to plan for a fulfilling retirement. With a focus on the non-financial aspects of retiring, he shares his discoveries and insights on his blog .