How to reinvent yourself after retirement


December 09, 2021

3 min read

Older woman painting

“After all that you’ve done in life, there’s still plenty of life to live. Each day, I continue to embrace life, pursue purpose and be open for adventure. It’s not always easy, but when I reflect over each experience, it’s always worth it.”

The quote above is from Atria’s longtime friend Billie Jean King, a celebrated tennis champion and equal-rights activist. Billie Jean recently sat down with three Atria residents and asked them how they’re redefining aging, which you can learn more about in our Next Chapter video series. 

While their answers were as unique as each of their life stories, a common thread was woven between them. Each resident saw retirement as a both a time for reflection and for looking ahead – an opportunity to pursue new interests and reinvent themselves. Based on what they shared, and others have told us, we’ve compiled a few tips to help with your own reinvention.

Escape the clutter

By the time you’ve reached retirement, you’ve no doubt acquired a lot of “stuff.” While some possessions hold deep sentimental value, getting rid of – or donating – less cherished household items is often very freeing. Downsizing typically means less home maintenance, which frees up time for more joyful pursuits. In fact, many older adults have found that it actually changed their outlook on life and made them more open to new possibilities.

Go back to the future

Reflecting on your past can help shape your future. What experiences brought you the most joy? Consider rekindling your passions for old hobbies or taking up a new one. Maybe there was something you’ve always wanted to try, like gardening, Thai Chi, playing the piano or painting, but never found the time to pursue.

Whatever you decide on, remember that you don’t have to jump in feet first – baby steps are fine. Whether it’s talking about your interests with others, reading up about it, or acquiring any supplies that may be needed, your journey of reinvention starts with a single step.

Connect with others

Wherever your interests take you, having others to share your time and experiences with fosters a renewed sense of self. Seek out volunteer opportunities, join a club, sign up for a community class or attend a lecture. And be sure to reach out to others – as the saying goes, a stranger is a friend you don’t yet know.

Studies have shown that socialization improves well-being in older adults. That’s why Atria created the Engage Life® program to provide residents daily opportunities to express themselves creatively, connect with each other and nature, have fun, and stay fit with events that are tailored to meet their particular interests.

Get the support you need

At Atria, new chapters of life unfold each day, and living in a senior community can help you get the most out of retirement. Our vibrant communities offer engaging events and a welcoming environment where you can grow, stay active and connect with the world. With a wealth of experience and wisdom behind you and many opportunities ahead, we’ll help see that you’re well equipped to reinvent yourself for your next chapter.

As Billie Jean King says, “Don’t be afraid to try something new or even start all over. I encourage you to go all in. Make this next chapter of your life better than the last.”

Illustration of three men gardening, one with a wheelbarrel of supplies, one water flowers and one planting flowers

Not sure where to start?

There’s a lot to learn when you become a caregiver, and you may be wondering where to start. Fortunately, many of the experiences you’ll encounter are common, and we've pulled together resources to help you along your journey.

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