Irrelevance in Retirement – Not An Option For Boomers!

What is the true measure of a successful life?  And is there only one way to measure success? When someone tells you that success is being in the corner office of a global corporation and earning a six figure income or owning a condo in downtown Manhattan, are they defining success generally or is it their individual perspective on what success looks like?  Success is measured in as many ways as there are people defining it.  Denzel Washington may have stumbled onto the best definition of all of them. “For me, success is inner peace. That's a good day for me." 

Success does happen every day, in the life we choose to lead, not as a future event when all has been achieved. It is determined by the attitude we bring to all we do in life. It is also about growing and finding contentment within our souls. In addition, success is:

  • Cultivating the abundant riches within our soul and discovering all that we can become by setting our imagination-free to achieve our true passions.
  • Making time to be with friends and family and opening our hearts to those whose heart is closed.
  • Never giving up in the face of adversity and calling on our inner resilience to face our fears and find the courage to work through those fears.
  • Accepting our limits and our shadows while understanding that doing your best is enough, even when others say it isn’t so.
  • Giving for the pure joy of making the gift.  The more we give the more we get back in life.

No one can define what success means to you, except you. Success is as unique as snowflakes. If you want to get a real appreciation of all the success you achieve in your everyday life, get into the habit of keeping a journal of your accomplishments. You’ll astound yourself when you realize how much success you already have achieved.


Dianne is a certified coach who is passionate about helping individuals thrive as they successfully manage the dynamics of incessant demands and constant change.  She is the author of a new book: If There Are No Limits… A guide to living with passion, purpose and possibilities. For more information, visit the book page on this website. 
When Ian retired a few years ago, I felt envious and wished for the day when I could announce my own retirement. A few months later I asked him how he was enjoying retirement. “I hate it, cialis I never should have retired,” he said. He identified strongly with his work and felt lost with all the idle time at his disposal. Unfortunately Ian’s in good company. According to Statistics Canada, 64% of retirees express regret within the first three years of retirement.

One of the biggest fears Boomers have about retirement is becoming irrelevant. In a world that values youth, status and achievement; it’s easy to see why one could feel irrelevant when they stop working.  It is almost impossible to fit those values into retirement. It doesn’t help either that the Webster dictionary defines retirement as withdrawal from life, isolation and loneliness, retreat and departure. Is this where we got the idea that when we reach 65, we’re done and no longer relevant? This definition certainly doesn’t fit the perspective of an idealist generation like the Boomers.

This newest generation of retirees sees retirement as the beginning of a new life chapter that is embracing and engaging, one that needs a new set of values. We also need a new word for retirement; and who better to find that new word than Boomers – the re-inventers of everything. Some say retirement is not for the faint at heart.  A fresh perspective and a new lifestyle plan will go a long way to help this generation build a highly relevant and meaningful retirement life.

Ask New Questions

Begin by asking - What am I in this chapter of my life? Now that I’m no longer racing off to work to service customers, lead organizations or build houses, what am I?  Now that I’m no longer busy caring for my family, what am I? Then ask – now that I’m heading into a different stage of life, who am I?  These are not easy questions, but they are necessary to challenge a perspective that may no longer fit.

Go on a QUEST

  • Question - Explore what passions are still unfulfilled and what new opportunities exist. This will help you to create a new purpose for this chapter.
  • Understand – Consider what’s important around the four anchors of life – mind, body, soul and spirit, to find what you want to do in retirement.
  • Evaluate – Select the things that are most important such as social connections, projects, community activities and wellness. Then add spice with a variety of meaningful leisure activities.
  • Secure knowledge – Be open to learning new things. With time to spare, learning something new may very well lead you to pursue items on your bucket list that you never knew you could do.
  • Treasure insights – You have tons of wisdom to share. Find every opportunity you can to share your experiences and knowledge with younger generations. They will be richer for it.

Retirement is Renewal

Look at retirement as a new beginning and a period of renewal; where you rediscover the dreams you had put on the back burner or find new dreams to pursue. Make time to “sharpen the saw” as Stephen Covey wrote about in his book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Reconnect with extended family and old friends. This is the time when you can do the things that bring you the greatest joy. You also have the luxury of time to really care for yourself, not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually.

Since there is no recipe on what Boomers should be doing in retirement, we get to define it our own terms. The list of possibilities is unlimited. The idealism that is in the DNA of this generation should serve us well as we begin this new and exciting chapter. Retirement from work is inevitable, but retirement from life is optional. And becoming irrelevant isn’t even on the radar.

Written by

Dianne Gaudet is a certified Coach who is passionate about helping her clients manage the dynamics of continual life transitions as they reach new heights of personal and professional success. Helping Boomers create rich and inspired lifestyle plans for the retirement life they want is one of her greatest joys. Dianne is the author of a new book, If There Are No Limits... A guide to living with passion, purpose and possibilities. She is also a motivational speaker, teacher and world traveller.