Sensational retirements don’t just happen. They take some planning, and the place to start is with you. Take a little time to think about this and begin by asking yourself some questions to peel back the layers and find the “authentic you.”
Drill deep. It took years of experiences to add those layers and it may take some time to remove the ones you no longer want or need. Write a description of who you believe you are. Link to mind-mapping to try mapping a visual of who you are.
No matter how excited you are about retiring, it represents a major change. Prior to this departure, you knew what was expected and required of you, but here you are in a whole new role. Even though it’s a wonderful role, it’s still change, and that can be daunting.
It’s even more daunting if you don’t want to retire. Before we quit working , I can remember my husband saying that he feared retirement more that death. Wow! That’s an unpleasant comparison.
In either case, retirement demands a significant change to a significant portion of your days, week and years. How will you adjust? How will you maintain your equilibrium and your balance, so that you can make this transition smooth? Take a look at this interesting article about change. Here are some additional suggestions.
Retirement is a departure from the purpose of work and also the routine of work. You already know the compensation ends. The routine that surrounds and supports your work also ends.
Find your new purpose?
When the purpose ends so does the routine that surrounds and supports your work. You know the routine that I’m talking about:
Preparing clothing for work
Planning ahead for fixing dinner. Need to stop at the store on the way home?
Buying your lunch? Fix a lunch.
If there’s family, getting them up and off to their destinations.
Gas in the car?
Setting the alarm for 1-2 hours before starting the commute.
The commute. Is it an hour each way? Less? More? Allow for traffic, weather.
To do List to clear up what wasn’t finished yesterday. Start on new projects.
Family activities after work?
Stop at the dry cleaners.
After retirement, that routine changes drastically. The drain on your time changes from all the tasks listed above to “What am I going to do today?” Sure you still need to keep up with the laundry, the meals planned and the family attended to, though they probably have their own homes by now. You have all day to deal with these items and if not today, then tomorrow works too.
Find Your New Purpose
Now is the time to shift your passions and probe your curiosity to identify your new purpose in retirement.
Purpose evolves as you pass through the many phases of your life. This may stem from passions from the past or desires at one time or another that you didn’t have time to pursue. In retirement your constraints are lessened because you may be downsizing your home, the kids are through college, the car is paid for, the weddings are over and you are into the next phase.
Now, the “job well done” may only come from inside you after retirement, but the truth of the statement still resonates. And it may resonate on a much more personal level that will have residuals that far out-distance a title and a salary.
If you read Dixie’s last blog about volunteering, you’re probably full of ideas. One of the best ways to fulfill your desire to volunteer in retirement is to mentor a young person. You’d be surprised at the number of younger people who would benefit from your insights and your attention.
You might be able to mentor even before you retire. You’ve probably noticed in your workplace that there are fresh employees who seem a little like “deer in the headlights” when they first join your employer.
Instead of being a spectator to their discomfort and floundering, make yourself available as a “big brother or sister,” a mentor to gently relay information that will make their transition into the seduction of work a little easier.
Mentors Make a Difference
A good friend of mine, recently retired, became involved in her church women’s group. She had reached the pinnacle of her career by working hard and then working harder and harder still. The big recognition reward in her company in addition to salary was earning the coveted pink Cadillac. She notched 11 of them on her company belt while taking care of her husband and two children.
After retirement she attended a Bible study for herself which allowed her, in retrospect, to examine her life, to look closely at herself and to begin to understand “Sisterhood.” The “volunteer gig” part of her church relationship in retirement was to spend her time in the “Mom’s Session” with the young mothers to partner with them and validate the importance of the time they were spending with their children while sometimes yearning for the postponed professional life.
My friend’s greatest contribution to these young moms was to remind them how valuable was this time spent with their children and to remind them that this too would pass. There was ample time left for them to meet their career goals.
What are other options besides work? Explore Volunteerism!
Find a volunteer gig – not something to fill time, but something that really fulfills you.
Volunteerism is an area that is wide open. Places where you can make a difference both for those you are helping and for helping yourself. Visit this link offered by the Corporation of National and Community Services. Whatever your passions are, whatever touches your heart, there are many places that welcome volunteers.
How can you help?
Think about our own life span so far and you will be able to picture the life spans of those who may need some type of help. For example:
There are babies to be rocked, and toddlers to be watched.
Children need tutoring and teens need mentoring.
College kids need a surrogate ‘family-like’ place to regroup.
Nurseries need helpers and senior centers need caregivers.
Blood banks need donors
Missions need teachers.
Libraries need storytellers
Hospitals need folks ready with a quick smile and a reassuring hand.
Election headquarters need campaigners.
School field trips need chaperones.
Warm meals need delivered.
Those disabled need transportation.
Lonely folks need company.
The list, like the “beat of the Sixties” that we Boomers are so familiar with, just goes on.
Most of these volunteer opportunities don’t require special skills. They require the precious gift that you now have, time. Time is the same commodity that is in short supply when you’re working 40 hours a week.
Research shows there is as much benefit to you from volunteering as there is for those you are helping.
You might be counting down the days to retirement. I know I was, but I always knew that I’d want to do some kind of work when my “career” came to an end.
You don’t have to rush into it. Take some time to bask in the joy of ignoring the alarm clock. Remember when you were a kid and the early days of June heralded the long and wonderful summer ahead? That’s how the start of retirement is. The world opens up before you with endless possibilities.
But if you decide you want to work, how do you get started? You might want to make a list of all the things you’ve been interested in doing over the years. Maybe you want to remain in the field where you’ve worked, or maybe you’d like to branch out and try something completely new.
You may be able to turn your current skill-set into a consulting job or a part-time teaching position, either on-line or in a classroom. If that’s what you want to do, then finding part time work in those field might be easier while you still have your career position and contacts. Dixie worked for several years as a marketing consultant when she retired, and I’m still teaching online. It’s wonderful to get up and work in your pajamas.
If that isn’t feasible and you want to try something you’ve never done like flower arranging or working at the golf course, then a time lapse after retirement shouldn’t hurt your choices. Go for it. It should be fun.
“According to US News, 60% of workers over sixty look for a job in retirement.”