Am finding more time for reading during the lockdown and have started a book that really resonates with me right now. It’s by Celia Dodd and called Not Fade Away, How to Thrive in Retirement. The book’s introduction neatly encapsulates some of the challenges I’m facing as I transition into retirement.
“Retirement is a time of new opportunities, of finally being able to say yes rather than no, of spending time doing all those things you always wished you had more time for during the working week, when you can discover the real you, untrammelled by the demands of a working existence that have helped shape the way you have thought, felt and behaved for decades.
“So why do people find retirement tough? Why should giving up work, which is stressful, exhausting and relentless, be such a challenge? Why do people feel lost, overwhelmed and even depressed without it? It’s almost as if we’re addicted to work.”
Having shaped my destiny by running my own business for over 30 years and working from home for large parts of it the work transition part of retirement feels relatively easy for me so far. After all I am still feeding the addiction by doing a few hours work a week.
What I’m struggling with is getting the balance right. In some ways I’m free to do what I want – or at least I was before the lockdown – but if I were to spend all my time doing just that my health would deteriorate, my relationships would suffer and I’d run out of money.
That’s based on the scenario of me going travelling as soon as I can, ticking off that bucket-list, eating and drinking what I want and foregoing exercise. I’d have to do the travelling on my own because Mrs Jones is not yet at retirement age so that key relationship would suffer as would others with my kids, rest of the family and my growing numbers of friends.
The other thing I’m struggling with is feeling as stress-free and relaxed as I imagined I should do. To give myself a routine, a purpose I’ve developed exercise plans, monthly objectives, daily to-do lists and an ever-changing default diary. Part of me feels this is the right thing to do – I need something to get up for particularly right now – but on the other hand I’m not chillin’ and it finding harder to sleep than ever before.
It’s early days I know, I am after all only just over four months into my retirement year and still have lots to learn plus it’s been a tumultuous time that’s had a real impact on my plans and expectations for what I thought would be a very special year.
I’m looking forward learning about how others have faced up to the various challenges of this retirement transition time. Chapters in Not Fade Away cover dealing with the loss of status and routine, reinventing relationships, managing money and crucially, for me, finding new meaning and purpose.
It also features expert advice and insights from people retiring now who speak from the heart about the lessons they’ve learned and the new sources of fulfilment they’ve discovered.