I am excited to share my thoughts on all things retirement in this blog. This will be my outlet to engage with you on everything related to non-financial planning for life after full time work. It also is a place for me to drop my guard and provide a window into my own experience finding my way to a new mix of how I use my time…which, by the way, keeps changing. I can’t wait to hear from you and dialogue about our respective journeys.
One thing I know for sure. Work for decades provides a routine, a built-in set of relationships, and hopefully ways to fill up our self-esteem. When you introduce yourself to someone, think how central your work is in that introduction. Work is a large part of our identity.
The more central our career has been in our lives, the more difficult it is to remove it from our existence. Retirement has been pitched up as a time to enjoy and relax. But it is not that easy. You may have seen others transition into retirement without much of a plan. Typically, the first 6-12 months are a period of bouncing between pent up to do list items, bucket list travel, and simply relaxing. And its really nice. But at a certain point, the loss of the three benefits of work: routine, self esteem and relationships catch up with us and boredom can set in. Even depression. With life after full time work potentially lasting 30+ years, that is a very long time to feel unfulfilled.
If we are thoughtful about where and how to find new sources of routine, self esteem and relationships, the whole tenor of retirement life will change. This period can be the absolute best part of our lives. In my experience, it takes self-reflection to get at your particular “formula” for routine, self-esteem, and relationships. Getting a handle on what has worked for you in the past is the best guide to mapping out new sources of fulfillment when full time work is no longer in the mix. It helps to refine your purpose, which in turn acts as a filter for your choices about how to use your time. If you invest time mining your past for your “formula” and passions, and plan your time accordingly, your reasons to be excited about getting out of bed in the morning are there for the taking.