I’ve always said that in life one thing we can surely count on is change. Sometimes we can plan for it and sometimes it is thrust upon us. Sometimes we’ve grown older and wiser, and sometimes we’ve simply become bored. Consider:
RELATIONSHIPS, COLLEGE, MARRIAGE, PARENTING, EMPTY NESTERS, CHANGING JOBS, RETIREMENT!
When facing a change, we often say, “Well, it’s a transition. Change offers challenges, adventure, and an opportunity to grow.” All that is true, but the words ‘change’ and ‘transition’ have two different meanings. Here’s the difference:
To quote the author William Bridges, “Without transition, change is just a rearrangement of the furniture.”
Think about that for a moment. Now, think about how it relates to Retirement. Transition requires a psychological process to have a successful change.
There are three stages to TRANSITION:
Stage 1: Accepting the Ending – Long Goodbye
Ok, so you have left work. You must accept the fact that your days will be different. You will no longer have the structure, calendar and organization you had before. Where you spend your day, and who you will be with will change.
Stage 2: Living in the Neutral Zone – Messy Middle
Yes, you read that correctly. Accepting a Messy Middle is an important mindset to
have. Realizing that things really are different and that it will take time to figure out what you really want and how you will find your purpose to feel satisfied can be a bit uncomfortable (and messy) in the short term.
Stage 3: Reaching Your New Beginning
Take a victory lap! You have figured it out, so find comfort in this new beginning. You also can relax because you realize that you can tweak it along the way as you experience the many new adventures you have been curious about.
Those are the facts. If you jump from Stage 1 directly to Stage 3, you may find yourself very unhappy. Spend some time in Stage 2 (the Messy Middle) so you can really enjoy that victory lap!
I leave you with the words of Dr. Seuss:
Let me know if you need a little help.
Loretta Saff, M.A., CPC, CPRC