Take the plunge and enjoy your retirement
Some of you might have a private giggle when you read the sub-title. How can one not enjoy your retirement? Isn’t it supposed to be a time of blissful rest after a lifetime of work.
For many people it is like that, but for many like me, it is a scary time of being trapped in a vacuum of nothingness. For many it is a period where one feels discarded after a lifetime of playing a prominent role in a company, of being an important cog in the wheel of the economy. For many it is a period of waiting and finding something important and useful to do.
For many it is a period of bereavement, of loss. You have lost something important. You grief for lost opportunities, the past, your youth or for your former dynamism and interaction with your colleagues. You do not belong anywhere anymore, except in the lounge of a old age home. You have started your journey on the ‘green mile’. That infamous walk from your prison cell to the gallows. This journey now has just one possible end – death.
It is also a period of increasing financial difficulties, a bleak future awaits.
How can one change this mindset of depression and hopelessness? How can one change the ‘green mile’ into a ‘golden mile’?
By changing your attitude towards this period of change and by taking the plunge and start living life in its fullness again.
Like everything in life, retiring after a lifetime of work, requires adapting to major changes in your life. It is similar as experiencing and surviving divorce, emigration or losing a loved one, or being retrenched.
Handling change correctly requires certain strategies to maintain your identity, you self-worth and your sanity.
Psychologists and others have developed a number of different models to explain the process of change. Central to these models is the fact that when people want to, or have to, change, there will always be specific elements linked to the process and its specific stages, that you will go through, and have to deal with before you can move on.
To do this successfully, you need to address the way you think because your thinking dictates your behaviour.
Man is meant to grow and develop, to move forward, and to progress to fulfilment. To become stuck in the process of change from employment to retirement without the willpower and energy to overcome the obstacles and challenges, would be to avoid your responsibility to yourself and those around you.
This is a call to action:
- Start a journal. There is nothing as therapeutic as sitting down and writing about your emotions, feelings, fears and goals.
- Join a club. Do not become isolated.
- Be creative and busy. Join an art class, or start a new hobby or rebuild a previous one. This will build you feeling of self-worth.
- Read widely about transitional change and how others survived the various phases of change.
- Be gentle with yourself and others.
- Don’t neglect the social media . It is a good way to keep in touch with old friends or meet new people.
Author: Fred Boshoff
Fred Boshoff is a freelance writer and contributes articles and short stories to websites, newspapers and magazines. Specialities: psychology, popular philosophy, literature, history and more