When I saw the retirement article on the job board I jumped at the chance to write about it. I saw this as a perfect assignment because of my experience as a new retiree. Many of the thoughts about retiring are still fresh in my mind. I see this as a chance to share my perspective with future retirees.
I have noticed this is a stage in life that people react to differently. Some fight it, ignore it or are angered by it, while others accept it, promote it and love it. What is it that motivates people to handle retirement the way they do? I suspect it is based on their personality and their life experiences. So, like most things in life, retirement becomes a matter of attitude.
Retirement brings about known and the potential for unknown events. Here are the 5 fears I encountered, and the 5 corresponding ideas that overcame them.
The fear of irrelevancy. “What do you do?” Someone asks. “Oh, I’m retired.” I answer. I am thinking “I don’t do anything”. For a time, I felt like a man without a country, but, that thought passes quickly. It took but little time to experience the freedom from job responsibility to appreciate the trade off. This freed my mind to gain perspectives I had no time to think about on the job.
The fear of the unknown. One example; Will I lose touch with customers and co-workers? I always enjoyed coming to work in the morning. I liked greeting my co-workers. I felt the same way about customers. I genuinely missed seeing them. So I replaced that with a 65 cent cup of senior coffee at McDonalds. As it turned out, I see many of the same people, just under a different set of circumstances. Some of them retired too!
The fear of losing power. Every position in an organization wields power. Sure, some more than others, but without someone to do those tasks the company would not run as efficiently. So when you leave, there is no one to wield your power over. I found converting that power to seeing our children and grandchildren in new places is a lot more rewarding.
The fear they cannot get along without you. No matter your position at your “old” job, someone is appointed. No one calls to get the advice it took you 35 years to learn. Just the opposite of what I naively imagined. Freedom from that job responsibility softened the blow. It is gratifying not to have that feeling with me anymore.
The fear of aging. Retirement is a milestone. The golf ball does not go as far. It takes me longer to rake up the leaves in the fall. I get little aches and pains I never experienced before. I sometimes wonder in a weak moment how long my good health will last. What I have learned is the freedom retirement brings opens the door to new opportunities and adventure that overcomes the fear of aging. I now see a fresh start.
So there we have it. I believe staying busy and occupied doing things I like to do will keep me healthy and happy. When my wife, Mary Jo, suggested I find a way to burn energy away from home, it didn’t take long to come up with a new web site called dearmonty.com. Now I spend time answering real estate questions online. I have a ball with it! You can too.