Retirement: Ready for this Significant Transition?
August 18, 2017Career Pathways Column
By Annabelle Reitman
Transitions are a process – moving from one life phase to another. William Bridges (Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes) describes it in three steps:
- An Ending – to stop being or doing something in the present
- Being In A Neutral Zone – assess how to replace what you are now doing and your self-image
- A New Beginning – preparations for new engagements and a changed “you”
Retirement is a major life event and a wonderful opportunity and time to do what YOU want to do, DECIDE when to do it, and HOW you want to do it. The critical question is: “Are you able to describe clearly and in detail the activities you plan to pursue?” Your response indicates level of readiness for this transition, the new image of yourself, and how you will ideally shape this life chapter.
Now is the time to review your options – creating a life-style that can include: items on a bucket list, engage in carrying out a passion, reactivate an old interest, more time with family, etc. Being transition-ready indicates you have a vision for the continuation of your life pathway and who you will be as you move forward. It means knowing which activities you want to continue and integrate with new ones as well as setting priorities.
The following list will help you identify the individual actions/activities (old and new) and their level of importance in your new life as a retiree:
Activities/Actions Priority (high, medium, low)
___Create/add time for sports/games
___Devote time to volunteerism
___Engage in a learning pursuit
___Focus more on personal concerns
___Fulfill a passion(s)
___Improve fitness/health status
___Increase time for family/friends
___Make a career/job shift
___Obtain new living quarters
___Plan more/start traveling
Review and Reactions to Responses
What are your immediate reactions to your choices? Any surprises? Comments.
- For each item checked, why did you assign its particular priority level?
- For each item checked, describe the details of how your vision unfolds – the how, when, where, and why of the activity/action.
- How do you feel about your transformation – the person you are becoming?
The information gathered serves as reinvention elements for a successful transition process allowing you to move from one place in life to another. However, even with a volunteer retirement, and good planning/strategizing, a certain amount of uncertainty, insecurity, emotional upheaval, and loss exists. This new beginning is unlike most of your prior shifts – involving reshaping significantly how you live your life and retirement’s possible impact on your relationships – particularly your family and friends.
Lessen the anxiety you may experience by viewing the transition period as a sabbatical – a break to reenergize, to reflect about your choices for retirement, and, if needed, make changes in your plans. This is also the time to become more comfortable with your new identity, and a different rhythm of your day-to-day schedule. Wishing you great success in establishing a fulfilling, engaging pathway for this soon-to-be life stage.
Annabelle Reitman, Ed.D.
Career Management/Retirement Strategist & Author