Life After Retirement
The excitement and the fear
‘Retirement’. It’s a big word with so much latent meaning hidden beneath those few syllables. To some, it’s a luxurious cruise, a glass of champagne, a return to the interests which were left smoldering on the backburner for the bulk of one’s life. To others, it carries lingering dread, a fear of the unknown. How to occupy the time, the energy, the innate human need for stimulation, both socially and intellectually.
Potential and Growth
But what potential it holds! Depending on things like career and relationship situations, retirement can occur from everywhere between the early 50s to pushing into the 70s and even 80s. As many have experienced, the pressure of modern life forces many into later and later retirement. In an uncertain world, often the most comforting aspect of work is it’s stability, and the knowledge that there is always the prospect of increasing salary if need be. But is this comfort really freedom? Is this the stability you should seek?
For many, the draw of relinquishing this pressure opens new realms, not just in terms of hobbies and interests but in self-discovery. And what is more freeing, more comforting, than a more intimate knowledge of who you are, what you love, and how to explore these unique affections.
The key to unlocking your future
As with so much of life- and probably what drove you to success in your career- the way retirement is approached holds the key to happiness. It’s a chance to explore new things, as if being given a second lease of life!
Perhaps you were a career driven, travel addicted person your whole life, and largely neglected your living space and how to nurture it. Your home has been largely ignored, your yard left in tedious normality, and all manner of things became cluttered and stagnant. Retirement gives you the opportunity to revitalize, reinvent, and such a change inevitably brings you closer to yourself, as you foster the kind of living space that makes you feel content.
Coming to terms with change
But it’s also important to remember that a sense of loss is normal at this important juncture of life. You’ve put your life into the work you do, and no doubt you got really good at it. The last few years of life were probably the time you felt you were doing your best work, so why did you stop?
While you may not have succinctly verbalized it, you stopped for yourself. You knew that going at the same pace was not beneficial to you. Sometimes we use negative self-talk to justify retirement, because that is the direction society encourages us to go. We don’t want to be the oldest, or the slowest, or appear to be a burden. But you know that is not true. With age comes inevitable wisdom, a quality the twenty-somethings crowding your office could only dream of. There is a keen eye for situations, a huge talent for working with people, and an intuitive understanding of how to get the job done and what will be successful.
Such wisdom is invaluable in all walks of life. It’s often not appreciated, to the detriment of those who choose to ignore it. Sure you could go on, but why waste such valuable talents on those who will not utilize it effectively? Why continue when your stock is rising but the workplace demands more for less?
It is this wisdom that, perhaps on a subconscious level, encouraged you to retire. Maybe you have grandchildren now, maybe you want to travel, write your story. There are so many more productive directions you can exert your wisdom, with much more rewarding outcomes. Isn’t it time you gave yourself that luxury? Haven’t you earned the right to do the things you love?
Of course, relationships change once retirement hits, particularly if you and your partner retire together. Suddenly, the precious little bit of time you shared that wasn’t occupied by work is now all the time. Often, it is children or grandchildren that occupy this precious time, and you both maintain an actively independent life outside of this. While the presence of grandchildren can bring renewed purpose in a nurturing sense, gender differences can be frustrating in that society often puts greater expectation on the female to take up the bulk of this work. In a relationship, with no careers to distract, these gender differences become more exposed. So work on this. Communicate, share, love. This is retirement, it is the time to rekindle romance and strengthen respect for collective pursuits. Again, a new lease of life, individually and in the relationship.
Money, while not the source of happiness, is an inevitable talking point when it comes to retirement. For many, the thought of a fixed amount coming in for the rest of their life is a challenging concept. It feels limiting, and pension amounts can divide people who were once friends.
But again, this is an opportunity. What you may have lost in income, you have gained in time, which is an infinitely more valuable commodity. Time enables the exploration of passions. Passions bring out the very best in people, and with all that extra wisdom, such passions can be directed in innumerable positive, profitable ways. You’ve become your own boss, not just in terms of making money, but life in general. Seeing your passions bear fruit is immeasurably rewarding. Retirement is opportunity!
The future is Bright
Remember when you’d just finished high school, and you didn’t know what to do? With all the possibilities, the infinite directions you could take, you felt overwhelmed knowing you were responsible for your life. Retirement is just the same! Once again you are released into the world with so many possible roads to follow. Except this time, the life experience which has so wonderfully defined you means you are in touch with yourself, and know how to explore this to even greater depths of your character.