Most of us over 65 have had some kind of full-time job for most of our adult lives. Moving from full-time work to something else--part-time work in the same field (phased retirement), part-time work in some other field, finding a hobby or volunteer work that engages us in a compelling way--is a daunting pursuit for some and downright depressing for others. Reinventing ourselves at an older age has both more risk than it did when we were 20 or 30, and may take more time.

This last period of our lives can be enormously satisfying, or it can be something less than that--tolerated, endured, lived in memory of a more illustrious past (the "I used to be famous" assertion we've all heard and some of us have spoken), or worse--in stagnation, disappointment and regret.

Gordon Livingston in his Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart tells us that there are three components of happiness we need to satisfy: something to do, someone to love, and something to look forward to. I've thought a lot about these three things as they apply to the last third of our lives and will be exploring five things we need to prepare for this period, and then what we can do in it to assure that we have satisfied the three components of happiness. Here are my five Must Address before we step away from who we have been:

1. Get your financial house in order
2. Do an inventory of 1) the things about your current life (work, socializing, hobbies) you want to continue and explore ways to do them, 2) the things you never want to do again and 3) the things you want to start (cello lessons, swimming laps, a reading group).
3. Allow yourself time and patience (this is a critical life transition).
4. Solidify your friendships.
5. Write a purpose statement for the next phase of your life.

I'll be exploring each of these in the weeks to come.