What goes through your mind?

May 05, 2022
This blogger talks about how a change to your mindset will help you embrace life after retirement. Source: Getty

At 72 years, my intelligent, considerate, once active older brother passed away from Parkinson’s Disease. He did everything physically possible to delay the inevitable and towards the end, he was unable to communicate effectively, struggled to form a sentence, unable to express his thoughts or last words. It’s gut-wrenching for loved ones.

I cannot imagine his mental anguish and frustration and I wonder what was going through his mind. My heart still aches, was there one last thing he needed to say?

What goes through your mind?

On the other hand, his battle also motivated my thinking and behaviour. Being a similar age, retired and edging closer to the other end of life, I think of my own inevitable fate and what to do about it while I am alive.

I ceased working full-time in my late sixties. It was difficult at first, yet one of the best decisions ever. But to work out my future, I needed to develop a different perspective by reflecting on my past, letting go, and changing my mindset.

It was about learning to embrace the unknown with my newfound freedom and extra time on my hands and find that something to motivate me each day.

Surprisingly, it took me over a year to adopt a different mindset and not feel guilty about doing things for myself. Now I enjoy every opportunity with a free heart.

I’ve discovered the younger side of myself and it’s been enlightening. Even my adult children have said how chilled mum is since retiring! Beyond any doubt, it’s worked in my favour, as well as for others around me.

I wonder if other retirees need to change their way of thinking to enjoy the rest of their life or do they plod along getting old with pessimistic acceptance?

It helps to understand mindsets as we age

For the pessimists, there is hope. Mindset beliefs are influential on how we view and develop our self-worth and generally speaking as we get older. Overall, those with a growth mindset are much more disposed to navigate their world much more effectively.

A reassuring poll of 2000 adults between 50-and 80 years found that 65 per cent of the respondents held a more positive view of aging than expected. In the poll, 88 per cent said they feel more comfortable being themselves as they get older and 80 per cent stated they felt a strong sense of purpose and as a consequence experienced ageism less frequently than others.

Our mindsets affect us from a physical perspective. Even a single day of mindfulness meditation can regulate a gene that codes for inflammation, one of the greatest drivers of aging. Learn to relax and your blood pressure goes down; emerge from depression and your immune system picks up.

The difference between Growth versus Fixed mindsets  

Even so, for many retirees, it’s not so simple to let go and change ways for the better. The reason: your present mindset may be restricting your ability to fully embrace retirement. Outward-minded thinking represents growth and inward-minded means you are more fixed in your thinking.

The differences:

A Growth Mindset is when we implicitly believe that we and others can change, develop, and improve our talents, abilities, and intelligence. We will take on challenges and place ourselves in situations where we may fail, but the development of self-worth is determined by the possibility of improvement.

A Fixed Mindset is when we implicitly believe that we and others cannot change, develop, and improve our talents, abilities, and intelligence. We tend to avoid activities that don’t come naturally to us.

On a positive note, as people age, they seem to become more outward-minded and less inward-minded.

Want to have more enjoyment while you can?

  • Become growth-minded
  • Face a challenge rather than avoid it
  • Practice mindfulness meditation
  • Be open to honest feedback
  • Put in the effort
  • Deciding to live better is like living younger
  • Laugh a lot even at yourself
  • Meet new people
  • The only thing to avoid is avoidance

Most of the retirees I mix with have adopted a positive growth mindset and are loving life. We address our priorities and appreciate what we have. I gratefully embark on new challenges, even if they scare me at times.


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