You’ve been carefully planning for years. Your bank account’s ready and your travel plans intact. But have you prepared for the many transitions of retirement?
First, realize that your job provided structure. Although you may have begrudged early wake-ups, the commute, the grumpy security guard, or the smell of your workspace, you knew where to be and when.
That routine laid the foundation for other aspects of your day. It let you know when to go shopping, schedule medical appointments, attend social engagements, and when to get to bed.
Secondly, you had a title. It may have been CEO, technician, or clerk but you had something next to your name. With it came purposes and responsibilities. People knew who to come to when it came to your job description.
Third, you were in the company of others. True, you didn’t enjoy every coworker. However, there were those you looked forward to chatting with through lunch or sat with at holiday parties.
Fourth, at the end of your workday, you started another stretch. You had dinner, attended appointments and social engagements, did your evening routine with your spouse then dropped into bed. And most times, you slept.
But those times you kept tossing and turning, you also looked at the clock? Why? So you could get up on time and navigate your pre-planned day once more. You knew your schedule, title, purpose, and people.
Yet, after retirement, we change those parameters. How do we do that?
Finding a New Normal
- Set a routine. A consistent wake-up and bedtime not only keeps us healthy but restructures our inner drive. Plan your “to do” list the night before. Jot down the things you’ve always wanted to do, like walk each morning, take your grandkids to lunch, or plant rose bushes.
- Develop a new title and purpose. This can be an enjoyable exercise that includes a personal mission statement. Title: Grandparent Extraordinaire. Purpose: to be available to assist my son/daughter with greater hands-on grandparenting. Or full-time volunteer to show my support for the homeless.
- Determine the relationships you’ll keep and cultivate. Which co-workers will you keep up with? Are there neighbors or fellow church or club members you’d like to know better?
- Keep Busy. Purposeful activity, although perhaps less intense, helps to ensure we’re ready to rest at the end of each day.
Retirement is a time of newness we can embrace with as much time, energy and devotion as we put into our former employment.
Only this time, we have more choices and indeed, we’re going to make them.