At the first stage of retirement, the transition stage, it is sometimes difficult to remember what day of the week it is when you wake up. For me, my pill box is my first reminder! A friend once told me that retirement meant that every day was Saturday.
When you first retire, you may find that not having to jump out of bed and get dressed to go to work is wonderful. You can just sleep in, enjoy waking up, and stay in your PJs and robe while having that first cup of coffee, relaxing in your favorite chair.
Is that the time for you to clear your head and think about what the day will bring? Or do you just enjoy not having to think about doing anything?
In the early stage of transition, the lack of a schedule can be somewhat daunting as you may feel that your life no longer has the same meaning as it did while working. If you had a full work schedule, the lack of one after you retire can cause you to feel depressed and getting out of the house – challenging.
This can be even more of an issue if you had a job as a manager, boss, or professional with a full schedule. Now you wake up and find the schedule empty.
I know people that woke up the day after retirement and just stared at an empty calendar, frozen! This is certainly not always the case, but for many, the loss of a schedule is one of the first things to deal with post retirement. Here are a few ideas to get your schedule going.
It can be fun to realize that you can still have a pretty full schedule if you start entering the various activities you are doing. This is not just filling it up with doctor appointments!
Everything from meeting with friends, going out to events or dinner parties, exercise, favorite sporting activities, and time with children and grandchildren.
In addition, are you involved with local organizations like Rotary, religious groups, activity clubs like golf, swimming, tennis, or charitable groups? Participation can allow you to utilize your skills to help these organizations and give you satisfaction in doing good for others.
Another idea is to have discussions with your significant other about what activities they would like to do and find things you can do together. I also suggest to couples to mark one day a week as a “private day,” one that each of you keep open for time to share together.
It can be fun to alternate who chooses what to do on that special day, and they have to make all the arrangements. In addition, look out past the first month or two and start planning for trips to visit family or just go have fun.
Many retirees also experience a change of identity when they leave their job. In some cases, a crisis may ensue which can also be a hinderance to creating a schedule, especially in those instances when you had an assistant to fill up your calendar for you.
Your identity may have been tied to what you did. When someone asked, “What do you do?” What was your answer? If it started with, “I am a…,” you may now find the early stage of retirement difficult as you have lost your identity and no longer know what to answer when asked that question.
Defining your new position in life may be one of the most challenging issues when you first retire. Does retirement mean that you have become brain dead and cannot carry on normal conversations? Are you afraid that people will change the subject to the weather when they find out you are retired?
I can remember a time when my wife was not working outside the house. She would often share that at parties or other gatherings, when she was asked the question and she said she was a “stay at home mom” the conversation almost always changed to the weather or general topics.
So, as you may have once worked on your “elevator speech,” you can now work on having an answer to the “question.” Consider things like: “I am enjoying life each day,” or, “I am doing exactly what I want to do for the first time in my life,” or, “I am pursuing my passions.”
What do you do with your life in retirement? What plans have you made for next week, next month, six months from now? Start filling up your calendar now and share some of the entries in the comment box below.