Retirement is a Graduation!

It seems like once a week during May and June we open our mailbox and find invitations. Some are wedding invitations, but most are invitations from parents and students sharing the wonderful news of graduations. Graduations from kindergarten to college and beyond. The excitement of embarking on a brand new path and transitioning into a new life phase is evident and we are excited for them.

What about the other class of graduates? I am talking about retirees. Retirement is a graduation of its own kind with a similar transition from one phase of life to another.

Retirement is not the end for us, in fact the fun is just starting. No alarm clocks, no traffic jams and doctor appointments during the day without having to take PTO. And let’s not forget early bird specials and senior discounts. Ross on Tuesdays—I’m there.

Retirement is not the time to stop learning. Retirement is the best time to step up our volunteering efforts.

Despite what you may have heard, the ability to learn new things doesn’t diminish with age. If anything, the potential for learning continues to expand. That’s because your brain never stops growing as long as you continue to use it. So, stay curious and continue challenging the way you think.

The benefits of lifelong learning are too good to pass up.

  • It improves communication skills
  • It improves physical health
  • It improves self-confidence
  • It strengthens mental capabilities

Whether it’s finding stimulating ways to spend your days, learning a new skill, or playing new games, puzzles, or sports, it’s important to keep challenging your brain after you’ve retired. The more active you keep your brain, the better you’ll protect yourself from cognitive decline or memory problems.

Henry Ford once said, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”

Keeping your brain engaged and active, no matter your age, is about embracing a passion for education and taking opportunities to develop new skills. IAIP offers many educational opportunities and it is in our best interest to take advantage of them.

  • Take online courses
  • Apply for scholarships to start or continue a designation
  • Attend association events that offer speakers on interesting topics

One of the best ways to learn is to teach others. Sign up to be a mentor or a mentee. Share your expertise by teaching a class. Volunteer to serve on a committee at the local, council, regional or international level. Volunteering and helping others is a great way to decrease stress.

Volunteering helps bridge the generation gap. By interacting with younger generations, you are able to share important life lessons. On the flip side, younger generations are able to teach us new ways of looking at life.

Volunteering makes you feel like you have more time. Giving others your time can make your time feel more affluent. A study done at Wharton College found that people who give their time felt more capable, confident and useful. Since they were able to accomplish one thing, they feel they will easily accomplish tasks in the future. So, even though realistically they have less time, they feel as though they have more time. Similarly, those who donate their money feel like they are wealthier.

Volunteering is good for mental health. Volunteering keeps the brain active, which contributes to a person’s cognitive health. The National Institute on Aging reported that participating in activities that are meaningful and productive may lower the risk of dementia and other health problems in seniors.

Volunteering helps prevent isolation and depression. While getting out of the house is important at any age, research found that volunteering can have positive effects on a person’s psychological health. In a study done by the Corporation for National and Community Service, researchers found that individuals who engaged in volunteering activities experienced a shorter course of depression than those who did not volunteer. Volunteering provides a sense of purpose and accomplishment.

Volunteering promotes physical activity. Physical activity remains an important role in positive health outcomes through the oldest ages. Whether that activity is helping with a local sports team or walking around your neighborhood while volunteering as a companion, maintaining a healthy level of fitness helps fend off diseases as you age. Follow the FIT Task Force for tips on how to stay active and sign up for challenges.

Find an activity you’re passionate about. Volunteering is best for all parties involved when you are doing something you enjoy. Whether you just retired or are in your later years, there is an opportunity out there for you. IAIP is my passion. IAIP membership offers so many opportunities to stay active and involved. Continued learning and volunteering is good for our health and our happiness. We are Retired … Not Expired!

Regina Lemanowicz, CLP has been an active member since 2002. She is a member of the San Diego Association of Insurance Professionals and holds a dual membership in the Insurance Professionals of Orange County. Regina retired in 2014 after 35 years in the insurance industry. Prior to retirement she was licensed in Virginia, New Jersey, Indiana and Pennsylvania before relocating to Southern California in 1998. Regina has served in every local officer position. She is Awards and Bulletin Chair and Membership Co-Chair for SDAIP. She is a past CD and RVP Assistant. She is a committee member on the Marketing & Publications Task Force. Her current roles are CA Council Public Relations Chair and Region VII Marketing Director.

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