I'm About to Retire: What Will Become of My Life?

If you're about to retire, you may feel nervous about the whole process. This article will give you some tips to help you feel more confident about it.
I'm About to Retire: What Will Become of My Life?

Last update: 21 August, 2020

Retirement is a paradoxical time where a massive achievement comes with great loss. This is why many people feel confused when they’re about to retire. In this sense, retirement is when working life ends and a new stage of stability begins. This new stage can bring many questions about the future.

In the strictest sense, retirement is the definitive end of active working life. It can come as a result of a person’s age or health conditions that don’t allow them to keep working. Just how much retirement can affect a person depends on many factors. Nevertheless, it’s always a major change.

Work is one of the major pillars our lives are built on. You basically organize all of your daily routines around work. This aspect of your life determines your schedule and how much time you have to do other things. It also directs your goals, influences your perception of yourself, and has a bearing on what you define as your life’s successes and failures. That’s why you need to set up a good retirement plan.

“The more sand has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it.”

-Niccolo Machiavelli-

This man is happy that he's about to retire.

Retirement: A process with many stages

The process of retirement has many stages. Each one of them represents a step forward on the path towards adaptation to new living conditions. It’s certainly not an easy path. However, it’ll be a lot  easier for you if you have enough information to face the upcoming challenges.

Here are the stages of retirement:

  • Pre-retirement: This is the stage where the person begins to realize that their working life is about to come to an end. It starts when someone is about to retire. Also, the person starts to think about their life after retirement.
  • Novelty: Once the person leaves their job, it’s normal for them to feel enthusiastic about the fact that they have a lot more free time to enjoy.
  • Disappointment: It usually arises after a couple of months of being retired. The person’s mood may shift from depression to hyperactivity and all of this may be mixed with anxiety. This happens because their new life doesn’t seem to meet their expectations.
  • Redirection: This is the stage where the person readjusts their old expectations to this new stage of their life. They reassess the situation and outline goals and objectives in a more realistic way.
  • Adaptation: Here, they organize new routines and design new life projects for the short-term and the long-term. These are designed to fit the new conditions in which they’re living.

Not everyone who retires experiences the same stages in the same order. Some people have already planned their lives after retirement very well and don’t face many unexpected situations. They’re ready by the time they’re about to retire. Others, on the other hand, enter this stage of their lives really confused. These people don’t know what they should do or expect.

This couple made appropriate plans before they were about to retire.

How to deal with retirement appropriately

Different schedules, routines, and environments will definitely change your life to a greater or lesser extent. Retirement tends to demand less activity. In addition, you might also go through a period where you grieve the spaces and work friends that you left behind, as well as everything you didn’t accomplish.

Despite all of this, you shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that retirement is also a great achievement. If you manage it appropriately, it can open up a beautiful new stage of your life. In this stage, it’s possible to find new paths that will lead you to achieve other things. In this regard, there are some steps you can take to help you see this experience in a positive light.

Steps you can take to improve your retirement

  • Prepare yourself consciously for retirement. You should start preparing when you’re about to retire – during your last work year if possible. This doesn’t mean you should ruminate over the future. Instead, you should analyze your alternatives. Make a list that includes everything that you like doing. This list should contain everything you stopped doing because you didn’t have enough time due to your work.
  • Have an active pre-retirement. You don’t have to wait to retire to begin with the projects you want to undertake after you do. Start them one or two years before saying your last goodbye to work.
  • Strengthen your social relationships. Post-retirement is a great time for friendships. There are surely many people who are in the same boat as you. That being said, it’s a good idea to take care of the people around you.
  • Change your focus. Don’t get stuck in the past. Look to the future. What’s gone is gone. It’s best to concentrate on what’s coming and feel excited about the possibilities.

No great life transformation comes without a certain amount of emotional pain. We might even call it “suffering”. You have to be aware of that. You also have to know that retirement brings some changes to your life that can renew your passion if you have an open attitude to explore them.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.