This isn’t about answers and solutions. It’s all about questions. Questions that keep me awake at night pondering the pros and cons of retirement and the ‘what ifs’ beyond. And with that came the realization that I’m not alone!
When I announced that I had set a date for retirement I got an abundance of enthusiastic high fives along with wishes galore for Good Luck, Good Health, and Happiness from family, friends and colleagues. So why can’t I sleep easy? Why the questions without answers? Why the feeling of relief when the pension advisor said “It’s not carved in stone. You can change your mind”?
I’ve discovered I’m not alone in my uncertainty. While some have eased into retirement joyfully, others have struggled. Some have gone back to work, some have developed health problems – mostly depression, some have aged visibly, others complain endlessly and deeply regret the decision to retire. It’s this second group that I would prefer not to join.
Certainly, at this stage of life, when the world isn’t my oyster, I am facing limitations – physical, financial, societal – that bring restrictions. BUT – limitations and restrictions of age related issues aside, the world can be my oyster!!! I simply have to find the ways and means available to people like me.
So let’s see where I am with the pre-retirement good wishes:
1. I loved the “high fives” that accompanied my announcement.
2. The “good luck” has already come in handy with all the paperwork involved in this process, filling out govt. forms, dealing with work related issues. The list goes on.
3. The “good health” – Yes – I’ve got a tentative plan of action. I will walk and dance my way forward. I will read and do puzzles. I will eat well and, most of the time, wisely. I’ve made a head-start on the healthy lifestyle by walking a part of the Camino de Santiago. I must share more about that. It’s a wonderful, pre-retirement meditative experience.
4. “Happiness” – What’s that for me? More time with family and friends – can’t wait. More travel – will I be able to afford it? More time for hobbies/activities on hold – will I have the physical ability to pursue them?
So many questions! My plan to prepare for retirement, or perhaps to reconsider, is to ponder my questions one at a time. I plan to look at pros, cons, and beyond. I would like to bring my reflections to you in the hope that you will indulge my thinking-out-loud and perhaps share your thoughts and wisdom with me.
In a state of confusion and anticipation, Venetia.