The pre-Boomer generation tended to socialize around 'like-minded' - church, social club, etc. Boomers, OTOH, make the majority of their friendships through work. The advantage is that one meets people one normally never would, if one stayed restricted to a single neighborhood or area. This can be a true cultural and socioeconomic enrichment.
The difficulty is that without work, many Boomers lack the ready social contacts our parents enjoyed. We are validated through work; this is where we get our praise and positive feedback and 'water cooler' conversations. When that ends, what does a retiree (or laid-off worker) do instead?
My DH and I have a lot of hobbies, and are making an effort to stay connected to friends/family who still work (we're pretty much the first ones in our immediate group to retire). We love being able to run errands mid-day/mid-week, avoiding weekend crowds; we love the absence of rush hour commute and traffic hassles. We love being able to see our friends whenever it's convenient for them, and not have to worry about fitting it in between daily errands and stressful work schedules.
We find there aren't enough hours to get everything done! We are doing some traveling together, which takes time to organize (love, love, love the Net). In fact, I still haven't updated my new blog about our last trip, and that was two months ago. We can now spend hours on the PC cruising our various special interest forums without worrying about some IT tech banning a website from our computers.
If you find life interesting, there is so much to do and experience that is now open to you. We are foodies and try new restaurants; we can take spur-of-the-moment walks along the water or through a state park; we can sip iced teas and read books on the patio if it's too warm inside the house. No hassles, no stress, no demands, no performance appraisals - it's a good time so enjoy it as long as it lasts!
If we do get bored, there's so many organizations that need help and would love volunteers. But we're still in the early stage of retirement, so we haven't gotten there yet. Good luck to all of you as you figure out what your new goals are - don't any of you have even a small 'bucket list'?
Hi All ~
Great to read your posts ~ Having worked in the field of psychology and psychotherapy, I was blessed with prepartion of a sort for "retirement" ~ What I tell most people is that I am not retired ~ I am in the "next stage of living" and now wonder how I accomplished all I did ~ e.g being a widow at 24 with a 2 1/2 yo son, attending college, owning a home and working part time and trying to have a "social life" as well ~ I just did "what I had to do" ~ then later married again for 18 1/2 yrs ~ widow again ~ still working and caring for self and house ~ moved back to hometown ~ still working ~ met and married again still working ~ widow again ~ mother died ~ only aunt died & took care of them all ~ so now ~ I am learning to enjoy the "single life" and the "now" stage of life. "If not Now, when?
Now ~ freedom and freedom is not so easy at the beginning ~ it makes one "responsible" for their time ~ So here I am actively involved in walking daily with my dog, meditating, journaling, painting, taking art workshops, going to lunch with friends/family, joining a small art group ~ writng a blog ~ (http://artmusedog.blogspot.com) ~ and so on ~ Life is good ~ and truly what you make it. Time is the gift and hope to live a long healthy life ~ Going to NC for Xmas to son's for Xmas and taking the "wee dog" and grateful ~
Wishing you all well.
hugs and namaste,
Most definitely ~ think about the word "transition" ~ which is where you are at ~ It is like a bridge span from "previous life" to "new life" ~ takes sometime to evaluate and just "be" to deciding "how do you want to spend your time?" and taking steps towared doing just that ~ and it is okay to "smell the roses" so to speak before you get on the "path" that is "your path" ~ Look for what you love to do ~ what might give you joy? what is a passion that you always thought you would like to do and what it might take to get there ~ Exploratory time ~ so explore and enjoy each day for what it is ~ Suggest book Living in the Now ~ Ekhart Tolle ~ and journaling each day ~ exploring thoughts etc
Keep posted on what and how you are doing ~ namaste, Carol
I enjoyed reading about the many retirees, and expecially Zendog3 and his boss who considered retirement as a "challenge". I recently retired at age 70, but then returned to work casual part time teaching nursing students at a local university. I like the idea of "reinventing oneself", that is finding ways to keep oneself busy. I only resigned because I wanted to spend more time with my grandchildren, but love to be busy.
I love life and want to enjoy it as much as possible. I also volunteered to work with those with developmental disabilities. It is time to give back to the communities, enjoy family, travel, and continue to seek new avenues to reinvent ourselves. This formula should help to keep one well balenced and interested in life.
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I've been participating in these retirement discussions off and on for a couple of years now and it's been interesting to watch the shift in my own psychological outlook toward retirement. At first, the majority of my posts were "I'm afraid I'll never be able to retire" as I watched my retirement savings lose 60% of their value almost overnight, and knowing that Social Security and Medicare will go bankrupt during my retirement years. In the ensuing two years, the worsening state of the economy has forced me to re-evaluate my entire conception of "retirement" to such an extent that I no longer consider it a viable option in the usual sense. Instead, I am now questioning the validity of the very concept of retirement.
After all, retirement has only been in practice for about 150 years. Prior to the Industrial Revolution no one retired. They worked until they either died or were incapacitated -- in which case they usually died within a few weeks or months of being unable to continue working. My great-grandfather, for example, was struck and killed by a bus while crossing the street as he left work in 1946 ... at the age of 83. My grandfather was the first in more than 30 generations of ancestors I've traced so far who actually retired.
So now I'm wondering if retirement is even a valid concept. Perhaps it's merely another of many failed 20th century social experiments that should be scrapped. Leisure, not work, is the cause of the majority of our catastrophich health issues. Now I can't decide if I'm onto a revolutionary concept of anti-retirement ... or if I'm merely trying to psychologically rationalize my personal inability to retire!
... I am now questioning the validity of the very concept of retirement.
After all, retirement has only been in practice for about 150 years. ...
So now I'm wondering if retirement is even a valid concept. Perhaps it's merely another of many failed 20th century social experiments that should be scrapped. ... or if I'm merely trying to psychologically rationalize my personal inability to retire!
As my 65th birthday approached, I found myself unsure if retirement was what I really wanted to do. Our society does not value people who are "unproductive." Plus, I don't think most middle class people are overly laden with money.
Then I had a health scare and it made up my mind. I firmly believe, having lost several family members and friends in the last decade, that NO ONE on their deathbed ever wishes they'd spent more time at the office or made more money. More money is not going to be useful if you are not here to enjoy it. Also, we could live a lot more simply than we do. When did we decide we needed all this stuff we seem to require today? Cell phones, internet, cable tv? If your basic needs are met, and you have a little money in the bank and good health, consider your fortunate.
There is never a good time to have a baby, buy a house, or retire. One just has to take the leap. Colonel Harlan Sanders said, "There's no reason to be the richest man in the cemetery. You can't do any business from there."
There are lots of experiences out there for us. I don't want to die, having never attempted them. Write that novel, pant that picture, volunteer at the VA, travel, finish that degree -- the world awaits our final act.
Harlan Sanders' "richest man in the cemetery" is a meaningless concept to me. I've been a multi-millionaire twice, and those were the two most miserable periods of my life. Money is a curse; a necessary evil in the modern world, since it's no longer practical to be completely self-sufficient. I don't work to become rich. I work for food, shelter, and other necessities.
And I don't find any fulfillment in my job. My vociation is merely the work I do in order to earn the money I need for essentials. My fulfillment comes elsewhere. And I do not allow my work to interfere with my avocations -- the things that do provide my fulfillment. So I've already written that novel (22 of them, with over 500 rejection slips!), I went through my "Bob Ross" phase and tried my hand at painting, I'm terminally (in every sense of the word!) degreed, I travel, and I volunteer an average of 12 hours a week.
So I don't understand what benefits I will gain by "retiring" other than to reduce my income and thereby reduce my options and opportunties. I certainly don't want to increase my leisure time. Leisure kills!
Thank you for your postings. The postings on this page raise many interesting points about the history of retirement and one's fears about it. We do live in a society that favors the "productive" and is youth obsessed and oriented. But, there are many things about society's pressures and demands that are unhealthy on a psychological level. Hopefully as we age we have enough wisdom to know that the only voices we need to listen to are our own and our connection to spirit or God.
I am beginning to view retirement as the next phase in a life that has had many chapters. The scarey thing is that at age 57, with three prior cancer diagnosis(caught early with good prognosis) , I don't have the luxury of imaging years and years ahead...unlimited opportunity. But, truthfully, none of us really ever has that. There are always limitations in life, be they limits in age, opportunity, eduction, money, personal fears....etc...
I am ready to march to my own drummer. I want to paint, and read and write, cook, love, travel and create and do what I want. I fear losing my professional identity. I fear managing my money, I fear illness. But, I will always work at something and I am beginning to get excited about the prospects for the best, most fulfilling next chapter in a life that has been rich, happy and full of struggle.
I refuse to accept societal definitions of my aging self as obsolete, over the hill and unproductive. I have never been stronger on a spiritual level, I have never been wiser, I have never been happier, or felt more fulfilled. This life is not a dress rehearsal, it is the show, the production, it is happening right now. Cast away all negativity and allow yourself the joy and abundance that abounds in every day, every moment.
I've enjoyed reading through this forum. I like the idea of 're-inventing' ourselves as we explore life beyond our careers. I retired 4 years ago and was able to 'mentor' for the next year. Thereafter a family member's health consumed my time, and still does. Recently my husband retired - although he says he is 'semi-retired'. The transition is definately challenging for him.
The idea of 'psychology' of retirement fits with my belief system. I believe it is a developmental stage/process and at the core is our backbone outlook on life in general. I also believe we have options to work on our outlook (Seligman , etc) and direct to more optimistic thinking.
We found a little book that has helped us frame conversations about this time. "Shaping a Life of Significance for Retirement" by Jack Hansen and Jerry P. Haas. It is something we just 'happened upon' and I've shared it with several others who have found it very helpful. What is most helpful has been the brief format of the chapters with 3-4 questions for thought or discussion.
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