Have you retired intentionally or have you been forced into retirement kicking and screaming? Perhaps you never want to retire at all?
In these times when our life expectancy is much longer, many of us are still working beyond retirement age because of choice or perhaps because of financial circumstances.
Whatever your stage, Retirement can be a huge adjustment in our life. It can also be wonderful depending on how your attitude is.
I retired early to spend more time with my husband. He is nine years older than me and had already retired. I was in a situation where I enjoyed working because apart from defining me as a person, it also gave me purpose.
However, apart from wanting to spend more quality time with my husband, I was also experiencing ‘bullying’ at work from one of my co-workers. I am not confrontational, and this women was so intimidating to everyone, that when it was ‘my turn’ to be in her line of vision, it affected my health and well-being so I decided it was time to leave.
The first few months of retirement were great.
- We travelled to Asia and enjoyed a wonderful cruise and explored China.
- I enjoyed the feeling of not having to be any where in particular at any time
- So much flexibility!
- So boring!
As the months passed I found that I wasn’t adjusting to this new style of living. Yes, I loved spending time with my husband but we certainly couldn’t afford to travel all the time and as I am someone who needs structure in my life, I just couldn’t settle into a ‘routine’.
I did some contract work for small businesses with bookkeeping and social media management, but I wasn’t happy. That is when I started my blog ‘Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond’. It was a way of using my experiences to encourage other women Over 50 who were struggling with areas of their life. I’m passionate about living a healthy lifestyle so I decided to encourage women to be fit,fabulous, healthier and happier. I also wanted to connect with others and through blogging I have made friends from all over the world.
The Secret to a Happy Retirement
‘Is there a secret to a happy retirement?’ I asked myself this question based on my own experience and came up with some ideas.
Have a plan
Most of us who have worked full time and had a family, have had little time to find outside interests. When we retire we feel lost and unsettled. Having a plan of what we want to do with our life is a must.
Write down some ideas and formulate a plan – ideally BEFORE you retire.
- What will replace your work?
- Are there things you always wanted to do but didn’t have the time?
- Do you have a financial plan that will be able to sustain the lifestyle you want?
- Would you like to volunteer?
- Will you want to be part of your grandchildren’s lives? I minded my grandson one day each week for 4 years and absolutely loved it. That may not be what you want in life, so you need to be clear.
Retire from work not life
It is important to accept that just because you have retired it doesn’t mean that life stops. As we are living longer there are many more opportunities for retirees than our parents had. Life is there to be lived so make sure you aren’t wasting your time. Retirement can be just as fulfilling as full time work it is just a matter of finding what you are passionate about.
Don’t retire if that suits you
Some people just can’t stop working. It is ingrained in them and they actually enjoy their work. There are organisations that recognise the value of older workers and don’t make them retire at a certain age. Why not use your working experience and start a small business?
Find a balance and don’t feel guilty
Sometimes, I just want to lie down and read a book and then I feel guilty. Stupid isn’t it? However, when you have worked all your life it is hard to just let go of the feeling ‘I should be doing something productive’ and just enjoy the balance that retirement can bring to your life.
Don’t use the word Retirement
Perhaps we should just remove the word ‘Retirement’ and use something else, like ‘Lifestyle Change’. Retirement can be a depressing word as it can conjure up images of becoming invisible (which I wrote about last week Why Women in Retirement feel Invisible) or makes us face our own mortality, sooner than we would like to.
Using ‘Lifestyle Change‘ is a much more positive way of accepting and enjoying this new phase of life.
Remember retirement is not ‘one size fits all’ so finding what gives you purpose and fulfillment might be trial and error, until you find what makes you feel comfortable and happy
My next guest in the Over 50 & Thriving Series, is Leslie from Once Upon a Time, Happily Ever After. Leslie will be discussing here experience with retirement in her contribution, How to face Retirement when you aren’t quite ready. Leslie actually asked some friends about their thoughts on retirement which I’m sure will resonate with those of us who have retired from full time work.
What are your thoughts on retirement? I would love to hear them so leave me your thoughts in the comments below.
Let’s Keep Sizzling & Thriving!