But sometimes even adults can be guilty of letting dreams and images of a golden time ahead get the best of us. We often develop a mythology of how retirement will be when we get there and when that retired life actually starts, there are some real, down to earth adjustments that need to be made. So if you can know some of the hidden dangers of retirement in advance, it is so much better to go into retirement with your eyes open and have realistic expectations.
There are two negative reactions to the sudden shift of lifestyle in retirement. They are loneliness and boredom. Even if you are going to be home all the time, there is no question that once you stop going to an office or having regular responsibilities, you can often feel a sense of loss and grief because you miss the people, the regular human contact and the fun of being out and that can result in loneliness that can get pretty chronic.
For men especially the feeling of boredom can also set in pretty fast when the challenge of the work world goes away. In many cases, men live for their jobs and when that world goes away, there is a sense of disorientation and not knowing what to do with themselves that is disconcerting for the family and for the retired man himself. You may have been looking forward to a less stressful life only to find that it was the stress that makes you tick and without it, you feel adrift in life with no direction or goals.
Both of these problems can be addressed by not letting your retirement life be to idle, at least not at first. You can fill your life up with volunteering, getting busy with family or by getting involved socially with other retired people. One area of volunteering that can go a long way to replace the gratification of the work place is to work with habitat for humanity to help build homes for people who cannot afford a home any other way. Both retired married partners can find ways to pitch in and it gets you out with people doing things that are worthwhile.
Give yourself time to get used to the idea of retirement and to the new lifestyle. It should be a simpler lifestyle because your responsibilities are reduced and you have more time on your hands. Be aware that if you and your spouse are suddenly around each other every day and every hour of the day, that is going to create new stresses which can also qualify as a hidden danger of retirement. By being aware that this is not the fault of either spouse but a natural reaction. The best response is just to get out and do things separately and create that natural space you are both used to more often.
There will be a natural down time when you first retire and treat the first month like vacation. But don’t stay on vacation. Let your ambition and zeal for life find new outlets. It will be fun and exciting to see where it takes you and that is what retirement is all about.