Explore the dark side of early retirement.
According to the book Brain Rules for Aging Well by John Medina, retirees are more likely to suffer from cardiovascular diseases, dementias and death than the employed of the same age.
This makes me worried about myself, because I retired at 30+ and still have probably about thirty more years ahead of me. Am I en route to dementia?
Right after I retired, my daily activities started to dwindle. At first, I was glad, because I don’t have to work hard anymore. A few years later, I began to have trouble with boredom. Even worse, I also felt losing a sense of purpose in life. It was terrifying. I began to realize that the goal in life is not to retire as early as possible. Rather, we want to continue doing what we love for the rest of our lives. Your career not only provides you with financial means but also your self-worth something to base on.
A few years ago, I decided to restart my working life becoming a woodworker. It was helping me a great deal. I got busy again. I learnt a lot of new stuffs. It was fun and life-changing. I was much happier than earlier when I was a retiree.
The book suggests several measures to combat dementia. Having an active routine is one of them. The book also recommends regular exercises, low-calorie diets (such as Mediterranean and/or mild diet) as well as ample sleeps. Fortunately, I have been practicing these practices for quite a while. It is also advisable to rejuvenate your brain by picking up a new language or joining a dance class; I might consider doing the former in the future.
And last but not least is to keep socializing; having a long-lasting friendship and/or having a positive marriage. If one can do most of these things, one will be able to guard oneself against dementia for the rest of one’s life.