Change is a Part of the Aging Process… Accept it and Thrive in Retirement!
As we grow and mature – mentally, physically and spiritually – we evolve into a unique individual. We want to grow up quickly and become an adult as fast as we can. Adulthood is scary but full of wonder and experiences. Everything is new and exciting.
Most of the changes are encouraging and we enjoy the exploration, intensity and newness.
Life is far from boring and we look forward to the next adventure. We ignore any problems that come with change and delight in the new adventures and challenges. Boring is the depressing word we use to encourage ourselves to move on and embrace something different.
Maturity and Middle Age Bring Their Own Challenges
As we age, we discover our stamina drains faster and we realize our need to take care of self. We slow up a bit and reflect on the activities we choose. Thinking about limitations is not something most of us consider. We are healthy and strong and our vitality is secure. Once in a while we encounter a back ache or leg pain but we don’t let it stop us from enjoying life.
We hold down a job, contribute to society and enjoy whatever titles are bestowed upon us. We define who we are by the job titles we receive. We have a sense of purpose and people who depend on us. The world acknowledges our contributions and our sense of purpose is secure. Visits to doctors may increase but we mechanically go, accept prescriptions and attempt to follow the doctor’s advice.
The Age of Retirement
Retirement looms with a huge amount of confusion, anxiety and happiness. Most people look forward to having the free time while others fear the sense of loss and lack of purpose. People who have worked in their careers for a very long time have a right to fear the unknown place of being a retired person.
We feel empowered when we can talk about our job and reply we are nurses, teachers, engineers, city workers, construction workers and more when asked about what we do for a living. Now we hate the question and our response.
We deserve to enjoy retirement yet feel embarrassed to state our current position in life. We may even feel that we have left a job that has become meaningless as well as monotonous but it may not be easy to admit this. We wanted to retire despite the stress of where it would lead us.
How to Enjoy Retirement
We may flounder a bit and have the need to get our bearings before we stand up to the new experience. I remember feeling the loss of my identity and purpose upon retirement. If we believe we have no purpose to life and living, we should think again.
Retirement means you have switched jobs and you steer in a new direction with a renewed sense of purpose that only you can fulfill. It takes time to appreciate the new path but it is filled with everything exciting and new, just as it was in our growing years. We don’t have to fear transformations.
We are just evolving into an even better version of self. We now have the time to embrace those things we never made the time to see or do. It is exciting to be able to pick and choose what one would like to experience.
Life Always Has a Purpose
We are still the person who laughs at silly jokes, smiles at strangers or offers others a quick helping hand. How do we know how much our simple forms of words and actions help another on any given day or time?
Those who are busy working or raising families may not have the time to leisurely give a hello to a neighbor or call on a friend. Nobody reflects on how important those small acts of kindness are in making the world a better place.
I remember an older retired woman in my own neighborhood who offered an open door for my children if I got home late from work and missed their school bus. It gave me such relief that she was on duty to be my backup.
Another elderly woman commented that a neighbor was washing the woman’s sheets every week because she didn’t have a washing machine and had to go to the launderette. They became great friends and the woman with the washer got to meet new people. An older man shoveled a women’s driveway and she rewarded him with baked cookies every time.
Share Your Gifts with Others
There are as many jobs to perform as we are willing to do. There is as much to learn as we are willing to observe and as many people in need of love as we are willing to give love to. Our personal self is alive and well within us.
We are capable no matter what condition we deal with. There are young people who have health issues and older people who are fit and strong. Our life as a retired person allows us to see the world even from our windows and enjoy the new in every situation we encounter.
Age Is Only a Number
Age really is only a number. Health issues arrive at any time and emotional issues must be cleared time and again throughout our lives. We don’t have to keep focusing on the negatives in our lives but rather, embrace the positive.
There are negatives at any age and as we age we forget about the problems we encountered at a younger age. Older does not mean life stops. The same world is visible to all of us and most options are available with some tweaking when necessary. We don’t want to excuse ourselves from life due to false beliefs. We are never too old to learn something new and curiosity is always part of our nature.
Plan adventures and if you have to change them a little, just do it and continue. Remember – there were perhaps many changes made with young children. Life is not a competition but a beautiful ride through adventures that foster learning, encourage peace and endow us with love for everyone and everything we take notice of in the world.
Being retired means you now have the chance to take your time as you venture forward in your many journeys throughout the world and opportunities for making new friends. One cannot underestimate the new knowledge we gain in our newfound freedom.
What challenges have you faced in your life? What is one lesson you would want to share with younger people? What would you share with them about life changes? Please share with us in the comments.
Pamela Reynolds is a Connecticut-certified teacher in elementary and Special Education. She taught for over 20 years in public and private schools and is now retired. The author of The Princess and the Queen, Pamela also writes about relationships on her website. She is married and has four children, three daughters-in-law, one son-in-law and nine grandchildren.