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Five things to Consider as You Prepare to Retire

Five things to Consider as You Prepare to Retire

Retirement offers a unique opportunity for us to nurture our spirits by giving us chances for creativity, contribution, fulfillment, serenity, self-discovery, and self-renewal.

It is an invitation to define oneself by who you are versus what you do. Key to continuing personal development and joie de vivre is recognizing that this chapter is one ripe with potential, when we can actively engage life, find a sense of purpose that lends meaning, rediscover new and fulfilling roles and a sense of identity, and contribute our skills and efforts to making a difference.

Out with the old, in with the new!

An important first step is to embrace the new paradigm of “upward ascension,” or mounting a staircase, and eliminate from your psyche the old model of an arc, peaking in midlife and declining after.

Recognize that you are in transition.

Despite the promise of fruition and fulfillment, retirement can still be a challenge. While an overwhelming busyness characterizes one’s days in our earlier years, upon retirement, life can seem to come to an abrupt halt. Values and goals that once motivated us lose their importance and we can begin to fear becoming irrelevant. But, if you consciously attend to reconfiguring your life within its exciting new parameters this, too, shall pass.

Rediscover, redefine, and renew your purpose and identity.

Living intentionally, mindfully, and with purpose is what gives our existence meaning. We find meaning through creativity—what we give to the world; experience—what we take/learn from the world in terms of encounters; and attitude—how we react to a fate which cannot be changed.

Live generously and generatively.

With the wisdom of experience as one’s guide and the gift of more discretionary time, retirees are invited to: Mentor—teach the young; Monitor—serve as watchdogs of public bodies; Mediate—help resolve conflict within their sphere of influence; Motivate—support initiatives for the betterment of others; and Mobilize—activate the powers-that-be for social change where there are inequities.

Be the captain of your ship!

The moment we accept complete responsibility for ourselves, the universe seems to cooperate by helping us realize our dreams and goals. Conversely, believing we are powerless products of our pasts imprisons us and limits the gifts that are ours for the taking.

Change is inevitable, but growth is optional and possible at any age. A counselor friend of mine used to remind me that “nothing changes if nothing changes,” which is another way of saying “what you resist persists.”

While unanticipated things may occur, challenging our preferred agendas, we each have the wherewithal to choose our reaction and renegotiate our plan, being grateful for the privilege of longevity with meaning, and the wisdom to know that life is not about waiting for the storm to pass but, rather, learning to dance in the rain.

Excerpt from Five Things to Consider as you Prepare to Retire from CareNotes

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