Is retirement really the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? It sure sounds good when you’re so busy juggling the demands of family, household and career that you have little time left over for anything else.
The reality often turns out to be something quite different. Retirement is a major lifestyle change, not a never-ending vacation. We live with routines all of our lives. Suddenly, we have none. We have more available hours than we ever dreamed of, and they have neither structure nor obligation. We move on from the family and careers that gave us challenge, social interaction and purpose, only to find that every day is a blank slate that offers us nothing but what we create for ourselves.
Retirement can be a major source of stress. Even if we are financially comfortable and blessed with good health, we can lose our identities, our motivation, our confidence in ourselves and our belief that we play an important role in society. We have no choice but to take a realistic look at our age and what the coming years may hold. All the minutiae that we once had to juggle into spaces between our obligations are now the only items on our to-do list, and chances are that they’re not our favourite things. The dreams we could never find time for, like learning a second language, playing an instrument, trying our hand at painting or writing a novel, may seem unimportant if we’re overwhelmed with feelings of depression, boredom, loneliness and isolation.
Financial planning is essential to retiring successfully, but so is life planning. How will you live? Who will you be? What will you do with your time? Experts agree that these questions need to be addressed before retirement. The goal is to figure out what will truly satisfy you and allow you to grow in this chapter of your life. Start a small business? Relocate? Reignite your spousal relationship? Develop new social connections within the community? What will motivate you to get out of bed every morning?
Aside from money and health, psychologists agree that there are a few foundational necessities for a happy retired life. Health, fitness and nutrition are important, and retirement offers the time to focus on them like never before. Social interaction is crucial, as is having purpose and gratitude. Friends, family and the changing parameters of the spousal relationship are high on the list, while community involvement and volunteering benefit the retired giver as much as they do the grateful recipients.
Perhaps you haven't yet figured out what that long-burdened inner you really needs. If that's you, an upcoming Forte workshop with Cathy Ginsberg will help you assess your inner aptitudes and interests. Cathy shares great insight and helps you plan the route to reach your goals. The founder of People Focus Training in Trent Hills, she brings over 20 years of experience in business, team-building and leadership to our community. The event will be posted shortly.