As many of us consider retiring from our current job, we often dream of life beyond the walls of our office or work environment. We think about the endless games of golf or sitting on the beach sipping a drink and letting life pass us by as there are no demands or daily schedule to live by. After a few weeks or months into this new lifestyle, we find ourselves wondering if this is all there is. What happened to me? Who am I? What leads me to this outcome?
Retiring from a job is a unique and complex experience that we all go through in life. It is important when you retire to take time off, relax and begin the transition into your new life. While some of us will be excited and looking forward to starting a new life, others will be filled with apprehension and worries. Let’s look at some questions you need to think about as you prepare for your reinvention journey.
Who am I?
We live our lives by the identity of our job/career. It is usually the first thing we share with people to tell them who we are. “I am a teacher.” “I am a doctor.” “I am a CEO.” Losing this identity is very hard and can cause people pain and emotional loss. It is important to spend some time finding a new identity. Ask yourself, who do I want to be? What role do you want to take on? How do I see myself in five or ten years from this day?
What will my day look like?
Once you retire, your daily routine will change. When you are working, you go to work, have different responsibilities, and interact with your social network of colleagues. More than likely you have done this for many years and to leave it suddenly is hard. It is difficult to have no place to go and no people to see. Ask yourself, how do I want to structure my day? Who is in my social network? Do I need to expand my social network?
What is my purpose?
When we are working, we have a purpose. For each of us, the purpose is different from simply being the best employee we can be to making a difference in the lives of others. For some of us, our purpose is to get to retirement. The biggest question we all need to answer is what is our purpose going forward in retirement? If you are going to live a life in retirement that is meaningful and successful, you need to have a purpose. Ask yourself, what do I see myself doing? How do I want to be connected with people in my life? How will I make a difference? These are just a few questions to ask. Spend some time and reflect on what will make your life one of meaning and fulfillment.
What is my status?
Some of you will be leaving important positions with a lot of status and importance. It is hard to leave when you are in charge or the company is dependent on you. As sad as this is to hear, you are replaceable. I never thought this until after 15 years of work my job was wiped out in a 5-minute meeting. Once you are retired, you look like every other person. Questions to consider and to reflect upon are: What can I do in my next chapter of life that will give me a similar feeling? How strong is my social network? Are there ways to add some appropriate challenges to your life like learning a new language or beginning a new fitness regimen?
No matter who you are, it is important to take time and plan for your retirement beyond the financial considerations. Reflection and thought can go a long way to give you a smoother transition into retirement. Retiring is a complex task that requires time and adjustment based on each individual’s needs. Tune in next month as we look at how to transition into retirement with specific ideas.
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Written by: Mark Danaher, Career Retirement Coach
CEO & Founder, Career Retirement Coach at Retire to the Good Life. Request a free consultation with Mark.