Creative Work Sharpens Minds

    I’m reminded ours is a nation of work as I slide back into my hammock hung between two ancient pines. The river roars past me making its way south to the Rio Grande. Great rivers form the earth’s circulatory system revealing Mother Earths health and well-being.

    Rivers also provide us answers to our questions. All too often rivers prompt us to ask better questions. Turning on my side I ask my questions directly to the river. What can I do in retirement to ensure my mind stays sharp? What is my passion (s) ? What are the creative work connections to my passion (s) ? How and when can I best make the transition from traditional work to creative work? Deer graze nearby; trout hide in the shadows of mossy rocks. I assert performing creative work for compensation or not all throughout one’s retirement years is as good as it gets irrespective of one’s financial situation good or bad.

     Most retirees will be successful by saving money (lots of it) and working as long as they can, hanging on to health insurance, and then living comfortably on pensions, social security and or rental property income. Their accumulated savings are such that they will comfortably weather any potential erosion of their buying power over time; perhaps leaving less to their heirs than previously expected. Other retirees are concerned they will outlive their money.

    Crazy old coots busy picking at the mud dried on their boots. Their minds mysteriously racing down roads that don’t go anywhere. As a young boy I was privileged to live in various colonies of retired Americans all throughout Mexico. I learned early on the importance of performing creative work all throughout retirement for compensation or not. I’ll share more on what I learned in Mexico a bit down the road in future posts.

Lifestyle Is Main Influence on a Sharp Mind

     The way in which a person’s mind ages, is largely down to lifestyle factors, not genetics, a study has shown. Researchers found genetic factors only account for 24% of changes in intelligence, suggesting environmental factors have the biggest influence on whether a person’s mind remains sharp in old age.

     The study, conducted by research teams in the UK and Australia, combined DNA analysis with data from around 2,000 participants who were asked to take intelligence tests at age 11, and again aged 65 to 79. The study, funded by the charity Age UK, is published in the journal, Nature.

    We are a nation of work. A creative retirement recognizes the importance of performing creative work for compensation or not. Discovering one’s passion (s) and making it one’s life’s work all throughout retirement is personally meaningful; sometimes profound? Everyone has something that speaks to them. Everyone has at least one passion they can pursue. Something they love that they can get lost in.

    Getting lost in what you love doing is the easiest way to find your rhythm in life. It’s similar to being in the zone when shooting a basketball. Being in the natural, playful flow of life helps one to better distinguish between fake and authentic happiness. Since retirement is not a rehearsal this distinction is critical. When we perform creative work we get to play. Play stimulates more creativity and we get lost yet again doing what we love to do, what we are best suited to do.

    Creative work also serves as an insurance policy for those who may find they want or need informal income in retirement. When feasible performing creative work as a second job grows a bigger nest egg and ensures healthier streams of informal income more quickly in retirement. Due to rapidly changing economic paradigms and or health related issues too many workers may be forced to leave the work force sooner than expected. Effective transition to creative work helps ensure individuals will outlive their money.

    Staring intently into crystal clear, braided pocket water, I smile, recalling how yesterday I was getting lost in what I love doing. Tomorrow I will awaken excitedly to the prospect of creatively filling one of my 6,000 blank pages.  What you are looking to do with your 6,000 blank pages?


About Roger O'Keefe

My background is in education and finance. I'm a published author and photographer, former radio talk show host, and creative retirement planning expert. My work is a love of labor, I do not sell any products of any kind. I've appeared as a guest on more than 50 national and local television and radio shows. With a Masters in education, I'm a licensed educator and author of the “Future Bright Program” and the California State Department of Education “Teacher Appreciation Program.” I'm a member of the American Association of Retired Persons and the National Care Planning Council NCPC. I'm currently writing my second book and reside in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. My mission is to reshape retirement planning one person at a time. Please visit my website and take advantage of the many complimentary online seminars, resources, and retirement planning tools.
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