Is Retirement Harder Than You Imagined? Try These 7 Things to Make It Easier
Your financial ducks are in a row. You’re staying on top of your health. You’ve lined up your leisure activities and added notable dates to your calendar. Still, after doing all that, you feel like there’s more to consider. Reinvention takes some work.
Times have changed. There’s no longer a magic age for retirement, and some of us will never retire in the traditional sense of the word. We don’t feel 65. Or 75. And we don’t define ourselves by whatever age we are.
Unlike previous generations, for us this season of life requires some planning that has little to do with our bank accounts. We realize we need to make shifts in our mindset as we change our lifestyles.
We need to stay flexible. And we must be willing to experiment with what works for us… and be willing to stumble along the way.
There’s no quick fix to retiring happily. But I have a simple checklist of suggestions that can make this transition easier.
Keep a Gratitude Journal
The mindful practice of keeping a gratitude journal serves us beautifully when we retire. It allows us to reflect on – and savor – what’s going well in our lives despite dramatic change.
Transition to retirement isn’t seamless, but if we take time for reflection and keep a thankful heart, we’ll uncover some promising possibilities.
Talk with Three People a Day
We depend on our work relationships more than we realize. Moving through the world without them can feel isolating.
Engage in conversations regularly… in line at the pharmacy, while shopping in the produce section, as you walk around your neighborhood. Flex your connection muscles. You’ll become increasingly more open to new relationships. You’ll be stronger for it.
Make a List of All the Ways You’ve Contributed
When we reflect on our past accomplishments, we reveal channels for how to remain useful. We begin to connect the dots between what’s given our lives meaning in the past and how we can continue living purposefully.
And we have more to add to that gratitude journal.
Discover One New Thing About Your Local Community Every Week
When we’re busy working, we don’t always take advantage of other opportunities to engage, even when those are as close as our own backyards.
Read local papers and flyers. Subscribe to local news feeds via email. Sign up for local social media groups. Attend community meetings and events. We don’t have to jump into a whole new world. Stepping out into our immediate surroundings is a good place to start.
Come Out of Your Comfort Zone Once a Month
I was never a ‘joiner,’ but I fought that tendency after I quit working because, like all of us, I need face-to-face interactions.
The virtual community at Sixty and Me is the gold standard for connection. You can also browse Meetup groups. Attend a lecture at the local library or college. Go to the opening of a new business. Join a class.
We may have to reach beyond the security of built-in work and family relationships, but making meaningful connections is worth the risk.
Take Your Time
Some of us, myself included, began defining what our retirement would look like while we were still working. Some of us just needed time to breathe once we left the workplace.
Whatever your approach to retirement, if it feels authentic, peaceful and unforced, then it’s okay. Permission granted to do things your way. The discovery phase should be fun, energizing and enlivening!
Remain curious. Rest. And as you catch your breath, keep your eye out for what might be next.
Get Help from Someone You Trust
The time between where we were and where we’re going can be confusing, even frightening. Sometimes we stall no matter how many things we try.
You’ll probably experience normal fall-out from this major life change and need encouragement or a bit of problem-solving. If it’s more complicated than that, an objective listener can help you shine a little light on your situation.
You don’t have to go it alone. Seek input from a wise friend, a coach or even a therapist.
Our personal checklists for how to be happy during retirement will evolve along with us. It’s important that we remain responsible for our own growth and practice self-compassion during the unfolding.
And rely on each other along the way.
How are you handling retiring from full-time work? What are you doing to make reinvention a little easier? Please join the conversation and share any tips you have discovered along the way!