The retirement you deserve

Posted on: 19 March 2016 by Lynda Shaw

Your retirement is a time to reflect and reinvent yourself explains Dr Lynda Shaw.


Retirement. What does the word conjure up for you? For some it means loss, the end of a working life, fear of how we might fill our days and financially keep in control.  To others retirement means a well-deserved rest, a celebration of years of hard work, an opportunity to travel and do things that we never had the time to do, and to indulge in hobbies we always wanted to try.  Whichever camp you belong to there is no doubt that retirement is a major life change which in turn will require some adjustment.

Work can become our identity.  How often do you hear people say ‘I am a doctor/ sales director/ accountant/ solicitor and so on?  We refer to our work as a noun, a title for who we are and have been for many years.  To let go of our label is emotionally difficult.

Our first major transition is perhaps when we leave the security of home to begin life in nursery and school, but our next enormous transition is when we join the working world and for some of us this time period may last more than 60 years. Then finally comes retirement, a time when the work is done. Retirees have the rest of their lives to themselves. This can be a pretty daunting thought but subject to your financial situation being in order, I believe retirement is a time to celebrate! 

Reinvent rather than retire

I also believe the word ‘retirement’ should be erased from the English dictionary and replaced with ‘reinvent’.  Our brains are wonderfully malleable and flexible.  The plasticity of the brain is phenomenal and when we keep trying new things, learning new skills and staying curious we lay down new neural pathways that help us to continue to develop and grow.

So you’ve done the hard part: spent a lifetime of going to work to take care of yourself and your family. So now what?  What are you going to do to fill all your hard-earned, free time? Retirees may feel bored, lonely or depressed immediately after retirement but staying active is an important way to kick start retirement whether it be tennis, pilates, golfing, or swimming; any physical activity can help keep you healthy and grounded.  You could even start a new business, turn a hobby into an income or go back to school, distance learning makes things so much easier these days.

Make an impact

Find a cause you believe in - it’s a great way to have a meaningful impact. Take the time to see new places and meet friends.  Retirement gives people the chance to establish and repair family connections that lapse thanks to the busy lifestyles and actual distance that exists between us. Now is a wonderful time to spend quality time with your children and grandchildren!  Most of these are fairly obvious suggestions but what we can be sure of is retirement means different things to different people.  Whatever way you look at it retirement or reinvention is inevitable so let’s enjoy it.  We deserve it.

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