What if This Gap Year Was Like Practice Retirement?

Apr 10, 2020 / Amanda Chase, Horsesmouth Assistant Editorial

What if the world is meant to take a “gap year” as a result of the coronavirus? Sounds better than forced retirement, right? First off, let’s acknowledge that many of us are now working even harder from home, whether it’s due to the industry we’re in or the difficult fate our companies are facing. But many others are feeling idle and confused. If you’re one of them, how could you use this global timeout as an opportunity to make some substantive life changes? During this unusual time, some of us may be getting an early glimpse into what our retirement might look like. If so, what can we learn from the research showing that retirement accelerates one’s mortality rate, on average, by a couple of years? This advice may be good for you personally and for your clients.

A closer look will reveal three primary issues: loss of a sense of purpose; less community and social interaction and, finally, less discipline. For most people, work provides this exact kind of structure. Without structure, we risk becoming couch potatoes, digital trolls or, even worse, void of a meaningful life. Here are three questions that might help you address these issues during the pandemic, and bring back a deeper sense of meaning in your life:

  1. What’s something that gives me a sense of purpose? Find a way to commit yourself to this purpose, even if it’s just educating yourself further on the subject while homebound.
  2. How can I connect with people even though I can’t see them in person? Make a practice of writing a daily list of three people you care about but haven’t talked with in a while. Reach out to them by email, phone or video call.
  3. Who can be my accountability partner to help create more structure in my life? think about how you can find people with similar challenges as you and then become each other’s trainers to encourage healthy habits, along with some daily structure that helps you be more productive.

Call this crisis what you will—a gap year, unexpected retirement or a momentary pause. It may also be an opportunity in disguise. You can find the full article at Next Avenue.


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