Live Simply With Style

Retire To Something

When people work at a job or a role, they have a mission. They have responsibilities. To serve as a parent, storekeeper, salesperson, or mechanic demands certain actions on our part. During retirement, the scenario changes drastically. There is no schedule, no lists of tasks and obligations except those we create. For many, this void is the worst part of retirement. After several months of drifting, a sizable number leap back into the world of work to regain a sense of balance and purpose. The comment most often heard is “I just wasn’t ready.”

There is much to learn from these aborted attempts at retirement. As individuals, we do find much of our self-esteem entwined in our tasks. When those tasks disappear, we can become despondent. Much of our social life may be connected to the roles we’ve played. The roles vanish and we lose our contacts with others.

We need to find new dreams in retirement. We can step away from old patterns and establish alternatives. We can choose meaningful paths from a vast array of possibilities. What we cannot afford is the intention to start something but never take any action.

First, we imagine, then we visualize what we might do. Perhaps we want to be active grandparents, to play golf or tennis, to travel, to volunteer, to seek more solitary moments, to paint or write—the dreams vary widely. What doesn’t vary is that these activities must satisfy us. They must meet our needs of feeling of value and of feeling alive. While it’s easy enough to become busy, even busier than in pre-retirement years, the real challenge is to become immersed in fulfilling activity.

The secret of a successful transition is to follow dreams worthy of ourselves. How will we grandparent? Can we keep golf or tennis in perspective? Can we find a purpose for travel? Are there significant projects for our volunteer efforts? Are we comfortable finding internal insights? Can we experiment with a creative interest, such as our painting or woodworking? We’re not trying to change the world, we are in the process of changing our selves. When we establish this “something” to retire to, our lives take on new energy. And, we discover that there is no meaningless void.


Rainbow Over Alaska Highway

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