When thinking about retirement, there are plenty of things that might come to mind. Perhaps you picture a beach day with your spouse, the classic image of playing golf with friends, or maybe you just see yourself relaxing in a hammock with a beer in hand. These are all comforting images and are the kind of thing most people would like to occupy their retired time.

Depending on your age, however, maybe you aren’t thinking about your retirement at all. If you’re over 10 years away from it even being a possibility, you may have other things on your mind. If you’ve just recently started working, you may believe that your generation won’t even get to retire at all. Maybe you’re so caught up in how you’ll be able to retire that you haven’t considered what you would do with the opportunity. There are certainly plenty of misconceptions about investing for retirement, but there are also misconceptions about the retirement lifestyle, as well. If you want to have a happy retirement, it will be just as important to plan how you want to live your retirement instead of just how to get to it. Understanding the following misconceptions can help you have a more successful transition, even if it doesn’t come at the time you thought it would.

Retirees Don’t Last Long

There is a somewhat commonly held belief that retiring, especially retiring early, increases the likelihood for an early death. It seems plausible at first. After all, retiring early puts you in a position where you don’t really have to do much of anything even sooner. Without proper planning, this could quickly lead one to boredom, or even depression, both of which will be devastating to the retired lifestyle. Depression can easily trigger people to stop taking care of themselves, and at the retirement age, this can have rapid physical consequences.

Before you start frantically looking up things like facts about lung cancer, hoping to find a link between various diseases and retirement, know that it’s unlikely that retiring itself plays any immediate role in one’s health. Think about it—failing health is a huge factor in many people’s decisions to retire early. Many people who retire at 65 are not in their best health, either. It’s less likely that retiring causes an immediate decline in health and more likely that factors already at play are worsened after retirement.

Studies have shown, however, that it can actually be beneficial to retire late (after 65). A study conducted by Oregon State University found that “adults who retired one year past age 65 had an 11 percent lower risk of death from all causes.” The idea is basically that working a bit later in life obviously increases your financial standing, and there are also social benefits of interacting with coworkers and having a purpose. Just a year more of these benefits seem to have a positive impact on overall health.

Of course, whether you retire at 65 or later, there are ways to stay healthier and happier outside of work. Simple activities like gardening can help you stay physically healthy as well as instill a sense of purpose. Not to mention, gardening will be a source of healthy foods, which you should definitely be eating. Finding exercises that are right for you will be important, as well. Many retirees enjoy swimming (which can be done with the family) and walking. A peaceful walk through the park or a woodland trail can do wonders for mood; just remember to walk fast. As long as you’re taking care of yourself, there’s no reason to think retiring will have a negative impact on your health.

Retirement is a Time to Settle

It’s easy to think of retirement as a time to settle down in your home and enjoy the simpler life. You get up whenever you feel like it, you do as much as you want when you want, and you enjoy leisure time with friends and family. Then you get back up and do it again. For some, this simplified lifestyle may be ideal, but there’s no reason to think it’s the only option. The world doesn’t magically get smaller when you retire. Instead of digging in where you are, retirement can be viewed as an opportunity for change.

Most people have at least some idea of areas they’d like to travel to, so why not use retirement to finally achieve your travel dreams? This could be a fantastic time for you and a great bonding experience for the family or with your spouse. Or, if you prefer to fly solo, treat yourself to a luxurious trip for one! If you have concerns about expenses, there are plenty of ideas that can help put your mind at ease.

Of course, you don’t have to limit yourself to just traveling. With the help of someone like a Gold Coast conveyancer, you could actually move to your dream destination and spend the rest of your life there. Even if you don’t have an extravagant foreign destination in mind, it is still worthwhile to look into affordable areas that may be more convenient or healthier for you. It’s your life, and no matter what anyone else expects, it’s important for you to choose what will help you live a fulfilling retirement.

Retirement is a Finish Line

Similar to the previous misconception, it’s easy to believe that by the time someone retires they’ve accomplished all that they’re going to accomplish. Or that they’ve accomplished all that they need to accomplish. Both ideas couldn’t be further from the truth. Retirement is an excellent opportunity to continue improving yourself or try new ideas.

As retirees look for intellectual stimulation, it’s becoming more common for seniors to enroll in lifelong learning—that is, taking college courses to pursue new interests. This can be done conveniently with online liberal arts degree programs that can fit any schedule. It’s even becoming more and more common for seniors to attend on-campus sessions. Either option empowers them to pursue new goals, expand their minds, and commune with like-minded individuals, all of which are important elements of a fulfilling retirement.

Retirement can also be a great opportunity for a “second act” career. That’s right, retiring doesn’t have to mean you stay away from the workforce forever. It’s not at all uncommon for retirees to decide to come back for jobs involving teaching, counseling, or administrative supervision. These jobs have a direct positive impact in the lives of others and offer social connections— two things that help senior workers feel a sense of purpose. For the more adventurous, seniors have become the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs. With accrued wisdom and business experience, it makes sense that retirees have the ability to compete in markets saturated with often frustrated younger entrepreneurs who might be struggling to establish their first businesses.

By maintaining a positive attitude about aging, planning ahead for how you want to spend your retirement, and keeping active on those ideas you can avoid negative misconceptions about the retired lifestyle and live out your golden years with fulfillment.