For many people, retirement is a time when one can truly start living. You have some money in the bank, the kids are grown and you are no longer constrained by the demands of work. You can freely pursue your passions, devote more time to your family, and basically create your life to your liking. As exciting as this time can be, though, the end of your working life can come with some unexpected challenges and trouble adjusting. The loss of a professional identity can leave some feeling a bit lost; all that time on your hands can prove problematic if you don’t find ways to make the most of it. Here are just a few tips for successfully transitioning to this period of life.
Clarify Your Vision for This Time
To successfully move into retirement, it is important you have some idea of what you want this time of your life to be like. Sure, as time goes on, interests and priorities may shift, but it is good to have some sort of plan from the outset. What do you hope to accomplish now? How do you want to spend your time? What are your priorities? What makes you happy? What represents an ideal retirement? This clarity will give you confidence moving forward and help you be optimistic about what lies ahead. You will be able to handle any bumps with greater ease.
Don’t Make Any Bold Moves or Commitments Right Away
Since you have never been retired before, you can’t know for certain exactly how you will feel about it, or how things will unfold. You may have some ideas, and that is good. But, give yourself a bit of time to get used to this way of life, and see what happens. Unless you have given serious thought to a particular issue beforehand, don’t make any bold decisions or major commitments of your time right off the bat. It is good to curb your enthusiasm a bit.
If you are toying with the idea of becoming a full-time RVer, but have never even spent a week in a recreational vehicle, talk to a dealer about what ownership entails; connect with people who are living this life. Rent one for a bit to get a real feel. If you are thinking about moving to one of your favorite vacation spots that you have never spent more than a week in at a time, consider renting out a house for a month or two to get a better perspective as a bona fide resident.
With all the freedom you have now, it can seem exciting to make bold decisions, but resist the urge for at least several months, maybe even the first year.
Don’t Get Lazy about Maintaining Social Ties
Maintaining friendships in adult life can be challenging — it is easy to drift apart because of the myriad responsibilities pulling at us; we are all so busy and become isolated from one another. One of the more challenging aspects of retirement is no longer having daily contact with people you may have become quite close to. You miss them, and feel out of the loop.
One of the best ways to keep in touch is to make standing lunch dates or outings. It takes effort, and you need to be willing to make it. If you are feeling a bit lonely, look into clubs and other activities where you can meet like-minded people, like a book club or regular volunteering position.