No eyebrows will be raised in response to the observation that the quantum of media advertisement on behalf of companies offering services in the nature of financial retirement planning is approaching infinite. To be sure, strategies for the accumulation of sufficient resources at retirement to enable the retiree and family to maintain a desired standard of living is extremely necessary and important.
There appears however, to be no media invitations offering services in the nature of counseling to the new retiree regarding the difficult adjustment necessarily implicit to the sea change in his life brought about by this epochal event. This may be attributed to the fact that this difficult and confusing task seems to be the sole responsibility of the retiree, himself (as opposed to financial planning, a business for profit entities); there would seem to be no relevance or occasion for media blitz.
To the point, a thoughtful plan enabling the continuation of a rewarding life after retirement is arguably of equal, or perhaps greater, import than financial planning but requiring a different stratagem.
It is the common experience to define oneself to more or less degree in terms of his life-long profession or occupation. After the consequential event of retirement, therefore, there is necessarily experienced a seismic change in self-identification as well as the routine and structure of daily life; this after 55+ years of consistent patterns of life and can be devastating. Those who confusedly and diffidently surrender to the profession of “couch potato,” whose sole diversion and activities consist in reading newspapers and watching television, relegate themselves to a meaningless, amorphous and unhealthy life; medical statistics show a significant occurrence of depression and general decline in health in such circumstances.
The retiree desperately needs a continued sense of purpose, self -worth and self- esteem in this new uncharted chapter of life.
We unreservedly state that life post-retirement can be no less than joyful, rewarding and, at the risk of hyperbole, the best phase of life (assuming, of course, the existence of reasonably acceptable health).
We have previously stated (Blog # 6) that, contrary to the opinion of some, growing old is not a disease and indeed, can actually be pleasantly anticipated. Gone are the stresses of earlier life, stresses of maturing, school and university stresses, early financial problems, later on, family and child stresses, employment and performance concerns and a myriad of others; these are now history, some barely recollected. At long last we are now gifted with peace and quietude. In addition, we have learned lessons in life which have provided philosophical perspective, have wisely learned to define ourselves by our capabilities and accomplishments (as opposed to our failures and matters of which we have little aptitude). We have perhaps learned the appropriate degree of response relative to the objective materiality of the respective stimulus and have acquired a reasonable measure of patience and endurance. Importantly, we have learned, empirically, that we are capable people and have been productive. We have also been pleased to observe that we are possessed of a personality which has been acceptable to the other people with whom we have interacted.
We are, at this point, fully capable of further significant self-realization without necessary distraction; we have suddenly attained an epiphany (Blog # 14) that we are, at long last, capable of reaping the well-deserved harvest of the fruits of our labors.
Once liberated from the proverbial treadmill and the daily grind, we are able to enjoy without limitation the “outside activities” and pursuits previously cultivated but not sufficiently pursued; the unrestrained pursuit of personally meaningful activities has the potential for continued growth, life enhancement and the preservation of self- esteem.
Planning for a fulfilling and satisfying life after retirement consists simply of the selection and continuous nurturance of desired, stimulating pursuits or interests, unrelated to the subject of our work and preserved until the opportunity for more active engagement.
Those individuals who have been fortunate (or far-sighted) enough to have acquired an “extra-curricular” activity, whether reading great literature, music, collecting, mechanics and the like, will now have the fortunate opportunity and luxury of their unrestrained pursuit. For others, there is volunteering, courses at colleges and universities open to auditing seniors and other avenues for useful dedication.
The retiree busily and energetically engaged in his chosen pursuit will derive joy from the opportunity for creative expression and a renewed life-enhancing enthusiasm; he will very soon realize that he has not become superannuated and ejected from his former work role, but has finally been liberated so that he can realize his personal dreams and attain a desired self-image. “Free at last!”