Of the many decisions people make going into retirement, the choice of one’s “retirement tribe” is often the most neglected. Lots of thought may be given to issues like finances (do we have enough?), health (will I have energy for the journey?), residence (where are we going to hang our hats?), and so forth.

So, what do I mean by “retirement tribe”? Simply the people that you will see or talk to on a regular basis for the purposes of support or recreation. They are the people you hang out with on an occasional or frequent basis. There are three general categories of tribes that comprise your retirement relationships: personal, family and professional. Let’s talk a bit about each category.

Family tribe. This is your retirement tribe that is pre-selected.  While we can certainly control who is part of our personal and professional retirement relationships, your family is well, your family, regardless of your feelings for individual family members. When forced to answer under torture, some of us would admit that we wouldn’t hang around with certain family members if we weren’t related to them. Of course, I’m only speaking hypothetically…all my family members are terrific people! However, with this in mind, your family can add to your life immeasurably by serving both support and recreational roles. They will usually be there through thick and thin and hopefully blend well with your other contact groups.

Professional tribe. Chances are, you have built up many work relationships over the course of your career. Perhaps some of these people have become friends so you expect cordial relationships to continue when you leave your career. Sadly, more often than not, this is not the case. Since your relationship was based on work-related issues, the primary frame of reference is gone, and truth be told, you may have little benefit to your former work friends. However, it is possible that one or more of your work acquaintances have become personal friends. In fact, one of my best friends started out as a work acquaintance over 20 years ago and we have since shared many life experiences that have nothing to do with work.

Personal tribe. This group of individuals are the real gems in your life, because they are self-selected. Whether you think this way or not, every one of your friends has gone through a screening process – as you have gone through theirs. A previous article talks about Jim Rohn’s statement that a truly special friend would be the one you could call to come bail you out of jail in the middle of the night. I also subscribe to the belief that your good friends are the ones who will keep you honest and tell you when you are not being your best self. Those of us who have one or more friends like this are fortunate indeed. And to have such a friend, you need to be such a friend.

Of course, there are others who you can consider friends but who would never come get you out of that jail – perhaps even some of those you socialize or play sports with regularly. And that is perfectly okay. There is a famous poem that talks about how people come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. There is much wisdom in this and it is important to realize which tribe members are there for which purpose, and also to accept that some of those you want to last a lifetime will fall by the wayside for various reasons. It takes two people to have a relationship and even family members can drift out of your life. Whether your relationship with a particular tribe member lasts a season or a lifetime, it’s good to enjoy it while it lasts and never take it for granted.

How Your Vibrations Attract the Right Tribe

I will close with some thoughtful comments from Mike Johnson about attracting the right people to your tribe. In his own words, Mike is a writer, researcher, revenue wrangler, recluse, and noted entrepreneur. He helps individuals escape the rat race decades sooner than conventional wisdom. Visit www.PerpetualSaturday.com for more details and be sure to subscribe to Mike’s writings.

“Vibrations exist in a wide spectrum. A vinyl record can’t interpret a radio. A radio can’t interpret a television. A television can’t interpret a computer. Few people can interpret you. That’s your tribe. Playing for those with different vibrations is an effort in futility. Worse, are the ones who partially get you but are always off a few clicks on the dial. Like static on the radio, they interpret just enough of you to hear the words, but can’t tune in tightly enough to grasp the essence behind them.

“You think that if you can just adapt a bit, they’ll zero in on your signal. Self-image. Values. Experience. Perspective. Mental clarity. Confidence. Sense of humor. Attitude. These are just some of the vibrational variables that attract or repel. You can’t dump any of that into someone else’s head. So, don’t change your broadcast for others. Just play it to the best of your ability and attract those who appreciate your resonance. They’re out there. They’re listening. They’re looking for you.”

To me, Mike Johnson is saying that you need to be yourself and be completely honest about the vibrations you put out. If you do this, the right people will pick up on what is unique and interesting about you and they will willingly join your tribe. But the other relevant point is that you have to put yourself out there. As the well-known book title says, Hope is Not a Strategy. Great new tribe members don’t just show up at your door. You have to join the clubs, attend the get-togethers, invite others to do stuff, and generally, step outside your comfort zone. Some of us are naturally outgoing and have no problem making new friends. Others are more reserved and for these people, finding new friends is a bit more difficult. Either way, the rewards are worth the effort.

Visit our Community and Relationships page for more articles on how to find and maintain a great retirement tribe.


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