Saturday, February 25, 2012

Time and Purpose once retired

I was talking to a friend about retiring--okay, I have to admit that I find the concept hard—I have retired once, went back to work and then quit and returned to work. I am now in the process of retiring again—I hope I make it.

My friend couldn’t wait to get out of the day-to-day work grind. He is not alone, many of the people I work with talk about retirement and project fondly about what they would do when they retire. However, the reality of the situation may make them think again if they do not plan properly.  

It is important to consider the following when planning retirement. As a person who has worked with people involved in transitions from school to work, from work to self-employment I know the following to be true for many. Work provides money in the form of income you can count on, time management in the form of a framework for your life, and purpose in the form of getting you out of bed in the morning for something that brings meaning to your life. As you design what's next for you, make sure you provide each of these for yourself.   Many of my friends are fortunate in that they have a good retirement plan that will provide income, what they have to is create an infrastructure that will support them in thriving, not merely surviving, this next stage of life. In retirement along with a money plan, you should have both a time and a sense of purpose plan.

Yes, I know one of the lures of retirement is not having to have a schedule. Beware, though, for therein lies one of the biggest traps of retirement. Without a framework for your days, weeks, months and years, you can slip into a deadening non-routine. I had a cousin who when he retired, told everyone that he was going to use his time to do nothing. He claimed he had worked hard all of his life and in retirement he was going to have the luxury of doing nothing. He did that and within three years he had died. He did not die of boredom, but he did not have a purpose and he did not keep his brain functioning,  even though his wife, brothers and kids begged him to get active, he refused, he was diagnosed with dementia within a year, and dead two years later. He not only did not have a time management plan, he had lost his sense of purpose.

As a Career Practitioner I understand that for many of us our career, gives us a sense of purpose.  We identify with what we do; our jobs give us a reason to get out of bed each day; a place to be where people are counting on us; a focus for our skills, abilities, and energy. When planning for your retirement make it a priority to find a purpose for this next stage of your life, one that ignites your passion and literally pulls you out of bed in the morning, you'll be golden

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