Adjusting to retirement takes time but it can be one of the most pleasurable experiences of your life. All it takes is a positive attitude and, before you know it, you’ll be on your way to one of life’s greatest adventures. It sounds simple enough but, for many people, the change of lifestyle can come as quite a shock. If they haven’t done any preparation, it can be a bit overwhelming. It is sad to hear how many people complain about being bored. They went from working forty or more hours a week to facing each day with a completely blank slate. When they try to put this feeling into words, it usually sounds like they’re a little bit lost.
On one hand, it’s easy to understand. You can’t go from running at full speed to a complete stop without some feeling of discomfort. My day used to be filled with meetings and conference calls, presentations and strategy sessions. I used to take work home with me on nights and weekends and had to cancel two family vacations. My commute to work was at least an hour every day. And I wasn’t alone. The work environment was very competitive so there were plenty of people who did the same thing to get ahead or to keep their jobs. Corporate America can suck the life out of you. Add in the fact that I wasn’t particularly enamored with my job, and you can see that I was counting the days down to my retirement and couldn’t wait to walk out of that building with the freedom to do what I wanted. But, for many people, that wasn’t the case. They liked their job, enjoyed what they did and socialized with the people they worked with. They loved working. When it came to retire, they did it with mixed feelings. Facing the rest of your life as if it were one big vacation caused them some anxiety. They found out that adjusting to retirement takes time.
While one big, constant vacation sounds like fun on the surface, I believe people need a little more purpose in their life. During my working career, the company that employed me was my purpose. Whatever I did was to improve their organization and, although I gained some valuable skills through their training and investment in me, it never aligned with any of my passions or interests. I traveled a lot for business, but it was no vacation. I had wanted to see the pyramids and the Eiffel Tower, not more offices and warehouses. I viewed my retirement as a time where I could pursue my own interests at my own pace. I took that preparation very seriously and this website is a product of that effort. One of the things I had to do at work was project management and part of a good plan is to anticipate potential problems and develop solutions. I approached the end of my working career in the same way. I talked to people who had already retired, and their biggest surprise was that adjusting to retirement takes time. Planning a trip for a couple of months or even a year helps ease the transition but, at some point, you wake up every day at home with nothing scheduled. For many people, boredom sets in, and they actually end up getting a part-time job.
There is nothing wrong with working if that is what you want or need to do. But retirement should be about enjoying life. If you’re going to work, please make it something that you enjoy doing. Make it in a field that interests you. Make whatever you do satisfying and fulfilling. Don’t get a job just to fill in some time – there are so many other options. When I talked to people who struggled with their adjustment, there was always something that they had thought about doing at some point in their life and forgotten about. All it took was a little self-examination and those memories came back. So did their excitement. That’s what inspired this website. The truth is that adjusting to retirement takes time and it’s something that you can plan for. It’s never too late.
One of our friends had planned to be a veterinarian but the college costs and the need to support a family pushed that to the background where it became one more faded dream – until now. He started volunteering at an animal shelter and, with that experience, got a job as an assistant at an animal hospital. Will he become a veterinarian after all? Who knows? When I was in my thirties, I required back surgery. My doctor was a retired Navy pilot who went to school for neurosurgery after he retired. He became one of the best and actually used a small helicopter on occasion to go from hospital to hospital. Why not think of retirement as your Second Act in life rather than your final one.
Retirement is a chance to rekindle your dreams and to do all the things you never had the time to do while you were working and raising a family. Don’t let anything stop you. There are many ways to get around the lack of money – all you need is the desire. The purpose of this website is to give you ideas and, hopefully, inspiration to make a long-lost dream come true. You may have to be a little creative or downsize your expectations a bit, but it’s well worth it. If you dreamed of being a pilot, maybe flying a drone would fill that desire. Did you dream of being a rock star? Perhaps taking music lessons and performing in a local band can give you that thrill. Adjusting to retirement takes time but that adjustment, and how you handle it, can make all the difference. It’s time to Enjoy Retired Life!
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