Retirement. Do you? Don't you? Why would you? It's a loaded topic these days amongst the Baby Boomer crowd.
For example, last week we had our first session of Life's Third Act. Coming to terms with when (and if) paid work wraps up was one large question for this group of woman. Heck I'll be honest, it dominates most conversations with friends and colleagues. There's a new or added pressure these days. The whole premise of you don't need to quit work at 55, 60, 65. Chances are you could have kept working past 'Freedom 55' but lots in my parents generation opted not to. Now it feels like a bit of a contest. Look at me, I'm still loving it at 70, 75, 86. I watch others pull back and hedge in the face of that. 'Well I still need to work'. 'Haven't quite decided'. 'Still have my health (don't wait until this goes to think about a shift!).' etc. It has become rarer to hear - 'I'm done. Can't wait to quit!' That statement seems to net a lot of poo pooing. Don't misunderstand me. I'm excited for you whatever you chose. Its simply brings up lots of thoughts and questions.
Our group the other night looked at leaving a professional job/role through the lens of Wm. Bridge's Transition work. Any significant Change begins with an Ending. You don't just skip through to the new beginning. A part of your identity, old self, old way of interacting in the world is in good part over. There are aspects of who you are that you need to say good-bye to. This is especially true with a life long career/ work. No different that the ending of a marriage, death of a parent. Your work gives you a built in structure and you pretty much know what you will be doing on any particular day. So the 'now what?' is up for grabs when thinking about leaving paid work and it's damn uncomfortable. Many of us have no clear idea as to what this time will look like. Oh sure vague notions of travel, volunteering, time with grandkids, catching up on the pile of books I haven't got to, a few projects around the house. Good grief! What about the other 80+% of your time? Then there are the even bigger question. Who am I now? Am I still relevant? These can stop you dead in your tracks. For some it sends them scurrying back into the familiar.
Here's an idea for you. I believe options for our 3rd Act are high and wide. We can't see or truly consider them though if we haven't acknowledged and let go of what we have filled our life with up until now. There is no room. So with the proviso about money aside, I invite you to consider what retirement means to you in terms of what's ending. For example a built in social network, a ready answer to 'what do you do?', my cleaning lady. The list is yours alone. Write it out. All of it, even if it seems silly. No one will see it but you. As you do you will notice a whole lot of feelings arise. Spend time in the soup of those feelings. This can take awhile - a few weeks, months. It's okay to feel sad, mad, frustrated. If fact it's good if you do. Let the feeling come, so they can go. Stuffing them away doesn't work. At some point you will recognize a lightness of being, a bit more energy. Possibilities begin to appear. Decisions are easier. You can move ahead with ease. This is a highly creative time. Good luck!