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I Prefer to Move Forward, Not Retire

8 ways to get more out of the second half of life

By Wendy Sue Knecht

There are many advantages to being an older worker or an older business owner. You're smarter (“been there done that”) and can problem-solve a lot more quickly than your younger, more inexperienced self. So if your work gives you purpose and enjoyment, why “retire?”

move forward
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And if you’re less than pleased with your current work, being older might give you the perfect out to leave and become involved with something that might be your genuine passion.

Personally, instead of the word “retire,” I prefer the phrase “moving forward.”

The Joys of Moving Forward

Moving forward, I think, is a better description of the opportunity we have as older adults to capitalize on our experience, to contribute to the world and to live a vital life — hopefully a long and healthy one.

You don't have to “retire” in the literal sense. You can reframe, re-energize and reboot! Remember, as C. S. Lewis said, “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”

In fact, starting something new may just keep you young.

One of the great assets of getting older and launching a new venture is that your life doesn’t depend on it. Although the experience can be stressful, you know you’ll be OK, no matter what happens.

The most important thing, which becomes increasingly apparent as we age, is to make the best use of your time.

As someone who always has had a lot going on, with simultaneous family, career and volunteer endeavors, I've learned to make the most of every minute. Having the perspective of years has given me a good handle on keeping my priorities straight and making the most of my time.

8 Ways to Move Forward

Whether you’re considering pursuing a new business or hobby or just don’t want to retire, here are eight ways to move forward with ease and passion:

1. Do things that excite you. Somehow you always make time for them. And they’ll give you energy. You’ll always get more out of life and work when you’re energized.

2. Set new goals. This will keep you invigorated. Sometimes the most challenging goal ultimately becomes the most exciting one.


Have you ever gone out for a hike or a workout and felt you were so tired you didn’t think you could make it? But once you did it, even if you had to push yourself, you found you had much more energy than when you started? And you were so happy that you pushed yourself.

Enjoy the journey — and the satisfaction that comes with reaching a new goal.

3. Dont set limitations for your life or your business. There’s no reason to succumb to some preconceived notion or someone telling you it’s time to slow down. Ignore any judgmental remarks or the idea that you have to “settle.”

Personally, I abhor being around people with this type of mindset. Setting limitations is just that… limiting.

Whenever anyone tries to tell me why I shouldn’t do something, my favorite response is: “That’s your limitation." I learned that great retort from Diana Nyad, who, on her fifth attempt and at age 64, swam 110 miles from Cuba to the shores of Miami.

4. Let go of what (and who) is dragging you down. I am talking about so-called friendships with people who interfere with your moving forward. If you have any of these, it’s time to gently remove the emotionally draining relationships from your life. By doing so, you’ll create space for more important and rewarding relationships.

5. Just say “no.” One advantage of having lived a bit: knowing what you want and what you dont. Saying “no” is a confidence builder and can be very liberating.

6. Exercise regularly. Getting your blood flowing will make you more creative and imaginative, aside from the obvious health benefits. And health truly is wealth; any other advice is moot if you don’t have it.

7. Travel frequently. Visiting new places gives you an appreciation for life and broadens your worldview (literally and figuratively), even if you’re only traveling to a nearby city. Traveling also opens up your imagination. The insights you gain will seep into all aspects of your life. One thing is for sure: you will be a more interesting person.

8. Take time to be alone. By taking one-on-one time for yourself, you’ll be able to filter out distractions and be more productive. Meditation is an excellent way to achieve this, but an hour walking alone can produce the same results. Taking time to “center” will help make sense of the chatter around you, allowing you to grab the greatest benefits out of life.

Here’s hoping you keep moving forward.

contributor Wendy Knecht
Wendy Sue Knecht is a health activist, a former flight attendant, a designer of travel bags and author of Life, Love, and a Hijacking: My Pan Am Memoir. She blogs at WendySueKnecht. Read More
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