Synchronicity in retirement

Synchronicity in Retirement

Retirement Synchronicity


Finding synchronicity in retirement is enjoyable; you might want to try it. Why do you ask?

Why not increase the chance of meaningful coincidences? After all, some of the best moments in life are unplanned and unscripted. Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.


What is Synchronicity?

First off, what is synchronicity?

Well, it is a coincidence (a “remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances.”)

  • Coincidence: two or more occurrences without an obvious causal connection

Interestingly enough, coincidences include serendipity and synchronicity.

So, if I were to ask you about Fleming and Penicillin or “luck favors the prepared mind,” do you know which is which?

  • Serendipity: when you accidentally find something of interest or value

Serendipity is shorthand for “happy accidents” which happen at the intersection of wisdom and chance

  • Synchronicity: meaningful coincidences without obvious causality

On the other hand, synchronicity might be summed up as a “meaningful coincidence.” While there is no cause-therefore-effect from a purely scientific perspective (also known as “acausal connections”), there is nonetheless a meaning ascribed to the accidental intersection. Literally meaning “falling together in time,” one must ascribe an archetypal role in creating this meaningful coincidence.

Now, don’t worry; I’m not getting all woo-woo on you. This is not spirituality (overtly, anyway). But we all have mental models, nodes, and pathways through which our thought patterns flow. That something resonates through the ruts of our conscious (or subconscious) thought patterns is hardly mystical. If you believe that you are conscious, then you experience synchronicity.

Serendipity involves conscious wisdom, whereas synchronicity has unconscious wisdom.


Why is there Synchronicity?

So, again, briefly, serendipities invoke practical external world outcomes while synchronicities are valued for their psychological and emotional impact. So both Flemming and a prepared mind are serendipities—physical and logical wisdom at work. There is serendipity because you are looking for something else.

Why is there synchronicity? Because you are human with a brain.

Synchronicities stem from our conformation or hindsight biases.

We are evolved to think in certain ways.

Remember, humans are pattern-seeking animals. We see patterns everywhere when there is merely random chaos. From an evolutionary perspective, seeing patterns provides survival advantages; thus, the brain is wired to identify patterns.

Moreover, we all have “gut” feelings that are not science fiction. Tell me where your gut feelings come from (I have my ideas), and I’ll tell you about synchronicity in your life.

Regardless, what if there is a way to increase the probability of synchronicity in your retirement? Can you add unexpected useful benefits on purpose?


How to Find Synchronicity in Retirement

Let’s look at a way of increasing synchronicity in retirement.

Start with this exercise. Go to your local second-hand store and pick out ten nonfiction books. Sure, skim the cover and look at the flaps, but get everything that looks interesting to you. Then, when you get home, set these books aside where you can see them.

The next day, pick up whichever book suits your mood and see what you glean.

I found books on leadership, relationships, marriage, being a “man,” creativity, anger, emotional intelligence, weightlifting, retirement, and a gem from the 1950s by Konrad Lorenz (you remember “imprinting” from psych 101 – man, he could torture paragraph-long sentences).

While watching my kids play outside, I’ll grab whatever I’m up for and employ some time, sometimes reading deliberately, sometimes skipping sections wholesale, always with attention to what interests and fascinates, enjoying the day whilst breathing deeply, feeling my gut and enjoying the random-not-random bliss. Tortured that one, didn’t I! But the long and short is that I had no idea what interested me until I grabbed a whole lot of possibility, put it on the self, and let my subconscious work overnight.

This might also work in a library, but I’m overwhelmed when I go to a library with all the choices. In a second-hand store (not a book-focused one), there is less choice, and you spend $5-10 on your selection of books. You might even get a tax write-off (you won’t). Choose freely, for the choice is yours alone.

Next, when you are done with a book, bless it and leave it on the park bench, coffee shop, or wherever for another person’s synchronicity.


Other Ways to Encourage Synchronicity

Other ways to encourage synchronicity in retirement are:

  • Show Up: the more you are out and about, the more synchronicity you will find
  • Be Open: what do you have to lose? You might learn something new
  • Follow Through: go with what your gut tells you
  • Expect Magic: remember, you are a pattern-seeking animal with biases. Why not take advantage of these perceived flaws in logic? Coincidences happen.
  • Be Playful: fun is good
  • Focus on the Positive: if something goes wrong, don’t immediately jump to negative conclusions
  • Follow Leads: breadcrumbs lead to more than just bread sometimes
  • Practice Gratitude and Be Kind to Others: enough said


“There are only two ways to live your life: as though nothing is a miracle, or as though everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein


Choose Synchronicity in Retirement

Choosing synchronicity might help improve “flow” in your life. Yes, flow (“the complete absorption in what one does, and a resulting transformation in one’s sense of time”). The one thing you have in retirement is the ability to direct your time. So why not direct it to passion and energy instead of the national news?

Next, synchronicities might offer clues to exploration topics for your heart or mind. You never know where you might wind up after a day of synchronicity.

On the other hand, excessive pattern recognition is a hallmark of psychosis (and many political memes on FB). So don’t be that guy.

Choose synchronicity: seek fulfillment both consciously and with your gut. Follow your gut and be open to living in the present.

Don’t look to the universe to give you signs; look to your gut.

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