The Best Tips For Adjusting To Retirement?
Recognize Which Stage Of Retirement You Are In!
Stages Of Retirement
Much has been written about the various stages of retirement. The research seems to indicate that the stages of retirement are also linked to our personality as well as our emotional preparation for retirement. It is no surprise that personality and retirement go hand in hand but from personal experience I would like to declare that when I retired I seemed to acquire personality traits I never knew I had. As far as my emotional preparation for retirement was concerned all I knew was that being retired meant I did not have to work 15 hours a day (special needs teacher), work weekends and prepare my classroom when I was “on holiday”
I have listed my retirement stages as I experienced them. There is no attempt to portray them as a definitive, research based paper on the psychology of retirement. However, they are an accurate portrayal of where I was and where I am now. Please let me know if you recognise any of them!
Retirement Stage 1 Self Imposed Paralysis (I can’t work, I’m retired)
Waking up with no relevant time frame meant that there was no alarm to snooze by. No skipping breakfast for an extra five minutes in bed. No reason to get up at all! Unfortunately in our society going to work in the framework to our day. Without conscious thought it is possible to make the chores we completed before work or after work last all day. All it takes is a cup of coffee in between each task, an interesting historical documentary on TV and you will find yourself wondering where the day went.
Adjusting to Retirement Tip #1
Give yourself permission to accept the emotional adjustment to retirement. In my case I wrote down a pre-determined time I would get back into the swing of things. I gave myself 6 months but I only lasted one!
How do you know you’ve been labelled “retired?” People call at 9 am and ask, “Did I wake you?”
Retirement Stage 2 Over Drive (Re-establishing my work persona)
For those of you who have checked out my “About Me” page you won’t be surprised that I entered my over drive stage of retirement very early. Living on a houseboat with renovating potential I didn’t have to look far for things to do. It’s a bit like painting the Sydney Harbour Bridge when you get to one end it’s time to turn around and paint your way back! During this period I also learned to sail so I could join the local Sailability organisation where we take disabled sailors out sailing. I loved it so much I graduated to larger boats and took up racing two days a week! All sorts of other opportunities presented themselves and I said “Yes” to all of them. Unfortunately I soon realised that every part of every day was allocated and the flexibility of being retired and doing things on the spur of the moment had disappeared!
Adjusting to Retirement Tip #3
Be honest with yourself. If you start the day thinking you’d rather be doing something else then listen to that voice. Give yourself permission to opt out occasionally and reassess that commitment.
“When you stop living at work and start working at living”
Retirement Stage 3 Health kick (Burn out from Stage 2)
The end result of filling every waking moment of your retirement is you feel exhausted. In my case I decided I wasn’t fit enough! I joined a gym, Tai Chi, Zumba and dog walking! I also started kayaking every morning! You guessed it…..aching joints, flare up of old back injury and the realization that I was an idiot! Phase 2 of my health kick was to listen to my body. I also looked at my health from the inside as well as the outside. This time I started with a small change by increasing my fluid intake. Surprise, surprise the pay offs were immediate and big! Having suffered from migraines since I was a about 11 years old (we’re talking every 2-3 weeks) and long term medication, they now only occur if I drink alcohol. No one was more surprised than me. The older you are the more important hydration becomes and sometimes we do not even recognize when we are hydrated. Take a look at this post and to check out the symptoms of dehydration.
Adjusting to Retirement Tip #4
“The trouble with jogging is that, by the time you realize you’re not in shape for it, its too far to walk back” F P Jones
Retirement Stage 4 Empowerment (2 am light bulb moment)
At this stage of retirement comes the acknowledgement that during any one day/week/month you may knowingly (and without reservation) adopt any stage according to your personality, level of motivation or even which way the wind is blowing. Where once you may have been defined by your children, your work status or your bank balance (we are Baby Boomers after all) we can now make a conscious effort to take ownership of our retirement. (I have been known to dabble in all four stages before sunset!)
As a goal, empowerment may same selfish. At this stage we are confident in who we are, where we are and what we do. Some may shy away from this personal centred lifestyle. However, your new found happiness (this is what retirement Stage 4 is all about) will be like ripples in a pond reaching out in ever widening circles to everyone you meet and care about.
Adjusting to Retirement #5
If you struggle with the idea of putting yourself first and making your happiness your goal let me share a quote attributed as a “Buddhist” saying,
“Remember to take care of yourself. You can’t pour from an empty cup”
If you need a little motivation take a look at my cheap and cheerful guide to a happy retirement. I’m still a work in progress but I’m not in a hurry…….I’m retired!