We navigate change all of the time because change is constant. Fortunately, we’ve also developed coping skills that make transitions easier. Retirement is a major life change that more and more of us are facing, either by default or by design. We’re now learning some specific ways to better manage that change, too.
Research and anecdotal conversation with retirees support that these four things make the transition into retirement a little easier.
Take Your Time
Retirement signals both endings and beginnings. It also brings some uncertainty. One way to ease your journey is to press pause and go into discovery mode.
College students take a gap year. Retirees can, too.
Take the time you need to feel your way into retirement.
Explore what you’re curious about.
Talk to people who are doing things you find interesting.
Experiment with hobbies, ideas, new skills.
Lean into leisure. Play! Rest.
We’re conscientious about planning for a lot of life events: weddings, new homes, babies, new jobs. We’re not always planful about retirement (financial security excepted), which is surprising since many of us could have upwards of 20 years of retired life to live.
If you find yourself musing about retirement, you’re ready to start planning. And that can be as simple as thinking ahead and taking note.
Consider your answers to these and similar questions that impact you mentally, physically, and emotionally during retirement:
How do you want to spend your days?
What do you value?
Which relationships nourish you and deserve your time?
Where do you want to be when you walk out your front door?
What aspects of your physical well-being need your attention?
Managing time during retirement is one of the biggest and possibly least talked about hurdles that new retirees in particular face. All those unfilled moments are glorious, but they can quickly be taken up by “stuff.”
Maybe a former employer asks you to work part-time, a commitment that grows into more than you intended.
Or a volunteer opportunity becomes a full-time job without benefits or a paycheck.
Maybe well-intentioned family members begin incurring on your time a little too often.
Practice setting boundaries. Have a polite but firm response to requests you want to decline. Choose what works for you.
Work Your Plan
Working any plan requires the ability to pivot… life happens, and we need to adjust. We can experience some fits and starts.
It can take a while to get our retired ducks in a row, too. Stay the course, remain patient, tweak things as you go. And keep going!
If life gets the better of you and your plan falls apart, seek support to become more comfortable with the unknown.
Every path has bumps. But the path into retired life doesn’t have to be peppered with land mines. There are ways to make the journey easier so the benefits can be sweeter… and the rewards can be celebrated.
What can you do to ease into retirement? What suggestions worked for you if you’re already retired? Join the conversation!