Your body is your retirement plan

Your body is your retirement plan

In today’s world, retirement is something that many look forward to. It is seen as a stage in life where there is more time to enjoy leisure activities that when working are not possible, a time to spend with a partner, children and grandchildren, a time to take off and travel – ‘the grey nomad’ – with no time restrictions. Or it may simply be a time where people hang up their tools and ‘go fishing’. It’s seen as ‘time out’, a reward for a life of hard work, and an opportunity to step out of the rat race.

Our article, Why retire?, considers whether the concept of retirement is a true one. We know that work gives us routine, order, connection with others and a sense of fulfilment and purpose in the world – so does it actually make any sense to give all that up?

Regardless of whether you plan to retire sooner, much later, or not at all, for many there will be a common thought of funding retirement, and how to plan for those years with no regular income. While planning for retirement is still an option for many, the next question to ask is what is being considered as you plan for it.

Have you ever considered the state of your body to be your retirement plan, or at the very least a part of your future planning?

We have things like savings plans, retirement plans, pension schemes, superannuation and government pensions (called something different all over the world, depending on where you live) – all money saving devices designed to support us in our later years if and when we stop working. It’s big business saving for retirement; in Australia it’s a legal requirement to start contributing money to your retirement fund from the moment you receive your first paycheck. In other words, a long term plan or investment to ensure we have some form of financial security or income when we retire.

Having a financial plan is very needed and is in fact compulsory in some countries, but are we missing something that is far more important and actually determines whether we enjoy the latter years or conversely, whether we endure them?

Most of us hold a picture around what retirement looks like, for example the activities we can afford to do. That picture usually includes our being fit and healthy and able to do all the things we dream about in our retirement years.

It’s easy to say that we want to be fit and healthy in our latter years, but are we doing all we can to ensure we are? We head to a financial planner to get our finances into order, but few consider that the health of our body far outweighs the health of our bank balance.

No one dreams of ending their working life sick and prematurely in a nursing home, but short of crossing our fingers and hoping we’ll stay healthy, what measures do we put into practice that gives us a fighting chance for our health?

Do you want to have worked hard all your life, saving and planning how you’ll spend the latter years, only to barely make it there? There is a saying that I had to spend my health to get my wealth, now it's the other way round; does it have to be this way at all?

So a question to consider is – how have I lived my life up until this point, and how am I going to continue living up until I stop or reduce work instead? Do I nourish and nurture myself? Do I honour how I feel? Do I express love to others or do I hold back? Do I live with anger and/or frustration? What kinds of food and drink do I support or abuse my body with? And so on…

It’s a bit like having an old classic car: if you’ve maintained it, driven it with care, had it serviced regularly and kept it clean, it will keep going for many more years to come. Yes, it may have a few dents or rattles that come with wear and tear, but it doesn’t have problems caused by neglect or lack of care. It’s a pleasure to drive and its age is taken into consideration.

Our body is just the same… it is a vehicle in which we live, and the way we treat it, care for it, maintain it and nourish it will show, both in how we feel in our body – vital, joyful and at ease, or sluggish, tired, sore and worn out.

What if part of planning for your future involved you redefining what retirement means for you, and what if that included a change in how you are living now to better care for yourself and your body in a variety of ways? Taking a strong body with you into your latter years might even lead to remaining in the workforce longer and ease any financial pressures. Self-care is a great place to start when looking at how you can truly care for the body you live in.

Could your pension or retirement plan also be about looking for ways to change your job if it becomes too difficult for your ageing body to manage, or reducing hours to support a physical body that needs the flexibility?

It is time to view retirement in a new way and to see that the state and health of our body is our best superannuation or retirement plan. This may well change how we view our current work life and contribute to greater vitality now, and equally in our latter years. With a body that is strong and able we then have a choice about what the latter years look like, retirement or not.

"We are designed to work in one way or another until our last breath, always engaging and letting humanity in. Let your last breath be your retirement. And before then, serve until you drop."

Serge Benhayon Esoteric Teachings & Revelations Volume I, ed 1, p 303

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