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7 Thought Provoking Topics About Retirement: How to Know if It’s Time to Transition from Work to Vocation

By Joan Senio August 28, 2023 Lifestyle

Retirement marks a significant milestone in our lives – the transition from a long-standing career (whether it be at home or in the office) to an entirely new era filled with possibility.

It’s a time to reflect on accomplishments and experiences, but it can also be a time to explore new passions and refresh one’s sense of purpose.

In recent years, it has become more common for people to phase out of their careers as opposed to making a clean break at a random age that society dictates.

Today, with advanced technology and increased flexibility in our ability to make an impact remotely, options for activities and fulfillment in retirement are virtually infinite!

1. What Prompts Us to Consider Retirement

For many of us, a few significant events tend to prompt us to begin to consider what our future life in retirement may look like.

We begin to sense the possibilities, and a new-found sense of freedom as major milestones begin to fall into place:

  • The children have left the nest and are (hopefully!) financially independent.
  • Major expenses, like education for the kids, are in the rear-view mirror.
  • Perhaps our homes are paid for, or close to paid off.
  • We’ve amassed enough savings to feel that retirement is in reach for us, financially.
  • Our peers and friends are beginning to do it – and we are beginning to feel tempted to follow suit.
  • Suddenly, we start to feel a sense of our own mortality. Perhaps we’ve lost coworkers or friends suddenly. Or we’ve had a health scare of our own that’s provided a “wake-up call” of sorts.
  • We begin to feel the draw of a warmer climate or a place with milder winters. Or we start to daydream about how a waterfront retreat may be good for our soul.

Whatever the drivers – we can all probably relate to the feelings that are beginning to wash over us more and more frequently.

Soon, we feel these sentiments begin to consolidate into one overarching message: we want to follow our passions, enjoy our days, while we continue to make an impact during the years we have left.

2. The Decision to Retire Requires Self-Reflection

Retirement is a decision that often evokes a mix of emotions.

Some eagerly anticipate the freedom it brings, while others may feel apprehensive about leaving the familiar routine of work and the relative security of a steady paycheck.

Many of us feel a little of both!

There is no right answer as to when it is appropriate to leave the work force or shift gears in some other way. As with many life choices, it’s all about what is right for each of us as individuals.

Unfortunately, many of us have not spent much time in self-reflection in the past.

Through our child-bearing years, it was easy to be completely preoccupied meeting other’s needs at home and on the job or in the community. So, self-reflection may be a new thing for many of us to engage in.

But now’s the time for a solid dose of it.

We must ask ourselves, are we ready to explore new interests, spend more time with loved ones, or simply take a break from the daily grind?

Understanding our motivations will help us to get comfortable with the right timing for this transition and to approach it with clarity and purpose.

3. We Must Create a Vision for Retirement

Before we can make an informed decision to embark on this new chapter in life, we need to envision more specifically what our goals are for this next phase. Fortunately for us, the options are more extensive than ever.

In the past, retirement was largely a time when people left the work force entirely and focused on activities or hobbies. Golf has been and continues to be a popular pastime for many retirees. Bridge games and book clubs are big. Perhaps an exercise class for seniors, or a travel or outing club can provide activities and adventures for us to eagerly anticipate. And of course, there are the grandchildren!

These types of activities are still 100% available to us.

And a retirement that revolves around these wonderful interests can be just right for some – and totally fulfilling, too.

Beyond these traditional options, we have a wider range of choices that are more varied than ever before:

  • We can choose to phase out of work gradually.
  • Also, we can explore opportunities outside of our immediate area – so we can continue working and still relocate to our ultimate retirement destination.
  • This flexibility also allows us to continue to work and still travel to our heart’s content.
  • The added options for remote engagement expand beyond the workplace. We may also find opportunities for remote learning that were previously unavailable to us.

In short, the personal, professional and developmental opportunities in the communities we care about are more diverse and flexible than ever!

It’s a great time to be anticipating retirement.

Do you have unfulfilled dreams or aspirations that you could consider pursuing now?

By defining your vision, you can establish a sense of direction and purpose for your post-retirement life.

4. Retirement Is an Opportunity to Find Your Vocation

Retirement doesn’t necessarily signify the end of work, though if that’s what you are ready for, then go for it! If you’re not ready for a clean break to relaxation and fun, retirement is an excellent opportunity to embrace a new vocation that aligns with your interests and values.

Your vocation could involve starting a small business, engaging in volunteer work, pursuing a passion project, or even transforming a hobby into a source of income.

This new endeavor will help to not only keep you mentally and physically active but also provide a sense of fulfillment and purpose.

5. Retirement Is Sweeter with a Supportive Network

Transitioning from the structured environment of work to the open landscape of retirement can be challenging. To navigate this phase successfully, it is essential to build a supportive network.

Surround yourself with like-minded women who share your interests and can provide guidance and encouragement. Explore local clubs, community organizations, or online forums to connect with other women who are embarking on similar journeys!

Their experiences and insights can be invaluable as you forge ahead.

6. Retirement Is a Time to Enjoy Self-Care and Wellness

Retirement also offers an excellent opportunity to prioritize your well-being.

With the new-found flexibility of retirement, it can become easier to establish healthy routines that encompass physical exercise, nourishing meals, and regular self-care practices.

Choose activities to fill your time that promote mental and emotional well-being, such as meditation, journaling, or pursuing creative outlets.

By taking care of yourself, you are much more likely to fully enjoy the fruits of your labor and lead a fulfilling retirement for many years to come!

7. Retirement Allows Us to Rediscover the Joy of Learning

Retirement is an ideal time to indulge in lifelong yearning to resume formal learning. Explore new subjects, enroll in courses, or attend workshops that pique your curiosity.

Rekindle the joy of acquiring knowledge and expand your horizons.

By staying intellectually stimulated, you can continue to grow and evolve whether or not you are still actively engaged in the workforce or community activities.

A New Kind of Retirement

As you settle into your retirement, take the opportunity to reflect on your achievements and express gratitude for the journey you have undertaken.

Cherish the memories, the relationships built, and the impact you have made in your career.

This includes recognizing the incredible accomplishments you have achieved in raising a healthy, happy family and in nurturing life-long partnerships with those you love.

Celebrate this milestone fully! You’ve earned it.

And then enjoy the anticipation of all the new opportunities that lie ahead.

Retirement is more than just bidding farewell to the workforce or your commitment to raising a family; it is a chance to embark on a new adventure filled with purpose and fulfillment.

Explore all the possibilities that retirement presents and embark on this journey with enthusiasm and optimism.

Because the best is yet to come!

Let’s Start a Conversation:

Are you retired? How did you know it was time to make that transition? What do you enjoy most about retirement? What advice to you have for women who are considering taking the leap towards retirement now? Has retirement impacted your family relationships or your marriage? Tell us all about it!

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Amy Brucksch

This was also just what I needed to hear! I have been contemplating retiring from my teaching position for several years now and know that this really should be my last year. But it is difficult to give up the certainty of income and inexpensive health care. There are very clear things that I would like to do when not working full-time, but I have been surprised by sadness in thinking of the students I will miss. A forum would be great!

Harriet Cabelly

Excellent piece. You hit all the major points. So very important to consider all.

Joan Senio

Thank you for your comment, Harriet!

Joan Senio

Jena, I’m so glad you enjoyed this article. I’m happy to engage with others who are grappling with this topic! We have so many choices, it can be a little overwhelming. I especially value the insight from others who have made the move to retirement. When we were getting ready to marry, or have kids, or take a new job, we always reached out to others with more experience, so why not do the same thing as we prepare ourselves for this next phase of life, right?


What a great article! It’s exactly where I am. Margaret can you create a forum that we can all connect to via this site but with each other? That would be wonderful.


Perhaps I should start one? Anyone any ideas?


I value the freedom that comes with retirement. Transitioning takes time until we discover meaningful activities and re-program our life – style.

Joan Senio

Klara, I agree 100%. And in some ways, I think the transition to retirement and the retirement experience itself can be quite different for women than men. I’m finding it helpful to talk with other women who have retired, hearing about their lessons learned, as I consider making the leap myself!


Great article! Thank you! Would there be a chapter in TN or anywhere in the US that could help with the transition? I am a 61 female College prof and grapple with the retirement concept. Not sure what to do, asking myself if I have enough retirement funds to ‘Just do it’ Any advice on how to allocate cash funds to help with a better money placement? And I am also a dual citizen of France and the US and not sure where to get my retirement.
Please advise?

The Author

Joan Senio is the founder of KindCompassCoach. She is an entrepreneur, author and consultant. Joan is passionate about the study of positive psychology and is an active personal development mentor and coach to women of all ages. Joan can be contacted at

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