Who are you? Defining your retirement personality.

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Who are you Defining your retirement personality

By Bruce Cameron


Identifying who you are and who you will become is one of the great challenges of retirement.

You need to create a new lifestyle that provides relaxation, stimulation, exhilaration and experimentation. In most cases your life will change quite dramatically, particularly if you have no follow-up job.

Here are some tips to recreate yourself and overcome retirement blues, particularly in the transition years:

  1. Attend retirement-planning seminars before you retire. Select seminars where at least one speaker will deal with the psychological aspects of retirement.

  2. Plan your future. Discuss the future with your partner, taking account of your desires and those of your partner. The discussion should range from what you both want to do in retirement to where you want to live.

  3. Have a regular schedule. One of your enemies in retirement is boredom. Most people stick to a schedule when they are employed. It is just as important to have a schedule when you retire. A retirement schedule may include a job or part-time job, exercise, housework, errands, hobbies, looking after your grandchildren and social time.

  4. Find a new job. Consider a low-stress job, even if you don’t need the money. It will help you stay busy and focused.

  5. Think about volunteering. Nearly every charitable or religious organisation appreciates volunteer workers. Look around and you may even find one that needs your skills. It may even be a good time to get political – not as a politician but as someone who is active in civil society.

  6. Get physically active. This does not mean that you should aim at running 10 marathons a year – but a few half marathons may not be a bad idea. The important thing is to exercise at least four times a week for at least 40 minutes at a time.

  7. Draw up a list of all the things you have ever wanted to do, including even those you don’t think are feasible, from learning a language to travelling by train from Moscow across Siberia to Vladivostok. Then narrow down the list, say to between five and ten things, then start planning and implementing them. Be daring and unafraid to take a few risks.

  8. Compile lists of useful things you want to do over the next month, from fixing the dishwasher, to planting a rose garden, to helping at a soup kitchen for the needy. And then draw up another list, and another. Remember that what you do with what is now ‘your time’ is dictated mainly by you and not by others.

  9. Avoid your old job. One thing you should not do is critically attempt to monitor your old job. Accept that your job is history and it really does not matter.

  10. Seek help. If you are finding it difficult to adapt to retirement, do not let the situation get out of hand, damaging your relationships with the people around you. Counsellors can help you both pre- and in retirement, particularly during the transition stage.

  11. Expand your social circle. There are plenty of interest groups out there. Try joining groups that cater to your interests.

  12. Enjoy family time. Make more time for your family but avoid losing your own routine to unfair expectations. For example, looking after grandchildren should be something you volunteer to do – not something that’s demanded of you.

  13. You are never too old to study. Consider furthering your education, even for non-diploma purposes. Anything from studying history to attending cooking classes.

  14. This does not necessarily mean world tours – getting to know your own country with brief trips can be exhilarating. But even travelling abroad need not be that expensive. For example, costs can be kept down by doing house swaps through a home-exchange website.

These are but a few ways in which you can keep busy and focused. It will not only help you to transition well, but you may find a new hobby, career or civil service activity that breathes new life into your retirement phase.


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Who are you? Defining your retirement personality.

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