When I approached retirement, I always referred to myself not as retiring, but as ‘refocusing’. Retirement had a connotation for me of hanging about waiting to wither on the vine — so to speak.
I had no real idea about retirement, other than I knew I’d have a substantial drop in income and not have to go to work; I could travel and fill in my days however I wished.
I didn’t have a plan — my life was simply going to be an open book into which I’d write my refocusing activities. That’s worked well for me over the last five years during which I’ve refocused. I’ve had no post-partum issues. After 51 years at work, I knew I’d had enough and looked forward to being free.
For some people however, retirement (or refocusing) can be a challenge as they suffer a loss of status, a drop in income, and a need to fill in hours each day that were previously occupied at work.
Recently I discovered a book titled, Happy Retirement: The Psychology of Reinvention at my local Australia Post office. I flicked through it while waiting to be served and decided to buy it for a 69-year-old friend and ex-work colleague who is still beavering away in a job he says he hates.
Written by a consultant psychologist, the book claims to be “a practical guide to planning and enjoying the retirement you’ve earned”, and I felt it did that quite well. The book consists of 200-odd pages full of graphs, charts, and factoids, or snippets that make it visually pleasing and easy to read and understand.
The author wrote about ‘work and life’, providing a context for retirement and asking readers to answer questions about where they see themselves now and how they might transition to retirement. Other major sections deal with planning for retirement, adjusting to retirement, looking after yourself in retirement, and reinventing yourself after retirement.
I found, as I read, that anyone intending to retire, who has just retired and feels like a fish out of water, or is looking to broaden their ideas about retirement could benefit from a book like this. It’s an interesting book because it looks at the ‘mindset’ for retirement.