“I remember when people would count down the number of days before they’d be able to empty their file cabinets, clean out their desks, and tell their colleagues not to include them on newly formed committees: they were about to begin earning a thoroughly deserved reward for years of dutiful employment. They were about to become pensioners, finally able to do whatever they wanted with their time.”    Robert S Weiss – emeritus professor department of sociology at the University of Massachusetts, Boston

Imagine the day.  The day you’ve looked forward to for a long, long time.  The day you can finally leave it all behind.  Those long days, early mornings, late nights.  The day you can move beyond all the time and work demands, the missed family celebrations.  Finally, Retirement!!!  While many people see it as a destination, with thoughtful planning, it can be a steppingstone to something wonderful.  Finally, being able to choose where to spend your valuable time and talent.  In reality though, it may be more of a challenge than you thought.

A Dose of Reality

Now, for a dose of reality.  Turns out this dream may not be everything it’s advertised to be:

“The 2018 Global Retirement Reality Report found that only 53% of Americans said they were happy in retirement. Some retirees underestimate how long it takes to adjust to what may be a radically different lifestyle; others miss their friends from work; still others find themselves with too much free time on their hands between grand adventures and visits with the grandkids.”                                                                                                                    From Rightwealth Advisors

Merriam-Webster defines it this way: withdrawal from one’s position or occupation or from active working life.  A google search shows the following “similar words”: seclusion, retreat, solitude, loneliness, isolation.

Having a Transition Plan

So you get the idea.  Turns out this “next phase” of life calls for some deliberate, intentional thought.  As Rightwealth Advisors points out:  “Like all major life events, transitioning to a retirement lifestyle can be a major adjustment and comes with a few hiccups along the way. One day, you may go from your seat at the top as a powerful executive to a lounge chair in your living room with the TV or Fido for company. The point is, without your career to define you, what will?”

Getting the most from this valuable time of life we must do some exploring in critical life areas.  How will you spend your time and talent?  Many people use the elements shown on the life wheel to provide some areas of focus.  A sample wheel is shown below.

No matter whether you are some time away, closing in or already retired, I hope you see retirement as a steppingstone along the way of life and thoughtfully consider the tools we offer to help you with a planful transition…or perhaps many. I experienced “retirement” twice, first from the corporate world and the second time from my own consulting business.  I can vividly recall how important it was to consider all the elements of the wheel and what happened when I left some out.  After the second retirement I chose to focus my time on family and volunteer work.  In fact, I began to introduce myself as a “professional volunteer”.  This is what drew me to serve on the board and several committees for “This Point Forward”.  Many of the workshops and other services we currently offer and plan for the future help people move into this phase in a meaningful way.

Good luck!!  And in the words of Viktor Frankl in “Man’s Search for Meaning”:  “Life asks you the meaning of life by questioning you; you don’t ask life.  It’s not what you expect from life, but what life expects from you.”