Attitude Toward Retirement by Joanne Waldman
What comes to mind when you think of retirement? That your retirement will be dull, devoid of opportunity, and an end to all that is good in your life? Or that retirement is an exciting time, full of opportunity and growth, and a time to try some new ideas, take some risks and make a contribution to society? What you believe and expect from retirement is important in determining what actually happens.
Where do our attitudes about retirement originate? The strongest influence on your retirement attitude comes from your parents. What kind of retirement experience did they have? Was it a positive or negative time for them? How did they spend their time? Friends and co-workers can also influence your retirement attitudes. Our culture frequently views retirement and aging as a negative. Take an honest inventory of your views around retirement. What comes up for you?
If we do not adjust our attitude around retirement, it can lead to some serious difficulty. Depression is often the number one emotional outcome of those who do not retire with a healthy attitude. Set your positive perspective by writing out some statements that reflect your new retirement attitude. For example, “Now that I am retired, I find fulfillment in some areas of my life each day. I live fully and completely. Life is richly rewarding to me.”
What would be a healthy resolution for your retirement? Do you want to be vitally engaged in personal enrichment, searching for deeper aspects of yourself, or contributing to one of your favorite causes? Bob sought the assistance of a coach to help him move into this new stage of development. He wanted to retire and realized that what he believed and expected about retirement was important in setting the stage for the years ahead of him. Those individuals who work on this issue in retirement tend to plan more and take earlier retirements. They feel that activities other than work can bring them satisfaction.
With his coach, Bob worked to dispel the myths and to question his beliefs around retirement. He reviewed his strengths and looked at how he had successfully negotiated transitions in his past. He realized that he had those skills in his toolbox and he could pull them out and hammer them into these new walls of retirement. Having a sounding board helped Bob too. The more he talked about his feelings, the better he felt able to tackle them.
For Bob, retirement meant going back to work. About 50% of the baby boom generation will return to some type of work after their initial retirement. Baby boomers tend to not retire in a traditional way. Retirement for Bob also meant working on finding his greater purpose in life. He started to look at organizations where he could volunteer, as he understood that his purpose included helping others.
So, take a look at your attitude around retirement. What are the positives you see in retirement? What are the necessary and essential components of a successful retirement for you? What changes, if any, do you want to make around your retirement attitude? Adopting a positive perspective around retirement will make all the difference in how you approach this potentially exciting stage of your life.
By Joanne Waldman