Last week, we talked about the mental wellbeing of “life after of work” and noted why some retirees who stay connected to a job they loved are likely to feel happier than those who have only made plans to relax, have fun and live a life of leisure.
Why? I think it’s because leisure, entertainment and all the accoutrements the retirement industry offers us are ultimately about consumption, which never truly satisfies us. We all have a deeper need for meaning in our lives that doesn’t go away when you retire.
That’s why retirees who can’t or don’t want to stay connected to their old jobs must now reacquaint themselves with who they really are or who they want to become now that a job is not defining them.
This is applicable whether you retire at 25, 45 or 65, because it’s not so much about your age, it’s about having to define yourself and finding your identity. In Life-Coach speak they’d say “How do you show up in the world?”. Retirement is the perfect time to figure this out.
How to get started
First, who the heck are you? Many of us choose our occupations when we are too young to even know what we really want and work a lifetime in a field we’re not passionate about. Or make a good career and a good living but suppress or neglect pursuing other interests along the way. By the time we retire, we almost forget about those parts of ourselves. I for one had no idea how much I had shoved to the side until I stopped working and got to know myself again.
Here are four areas to explore:
Remember the kid inside – were you fascinated by something as child? Mesmerized by music or bugs or trains?
Find your creative side – Doodling, dancing, playing the guitar. How do you express yourself?
Get in touch with your spirituality – reconnect with the wonder of life, why are we here? What happens when we die?
Invest in yourself – consider self-improvement seminars, a personal life-coach, existential therapy.
Do you have other ideas?
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©Copyright Eva Del Rio
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