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.
I did a 30-day Make Happy a Habit challenge back in 2016 and 2021 and now I get the chance to share it with the viewers of WKRN's Local on 2 with Larissa and Laura.
It's hard to make it a priority with the busy lives we live but five simple daily activities can help you establish happy habits. Self-care can start to be something that you prioritize in your life. And now, more than ever, self-care and finding your way to happiness is important for your health and well-being and for those around you.
There is real science behind the emotions of happiness and love. Dr. Barbara Frederickson, Psychologist and Neuroscience Professor at UNC, Chapel Hill said, “The ways that we feel happiness and well-being are actually showing up in the cells of our immune system and supporting our health.”
The Make Happy a Habit challenge is one of my favorites. I did it in 2016 and 2021 and shared every step along the way. If you joined me in the past, I hope you found some inspiration from my journey for your own. If you're starting the journey now, be sure to tell me when you start feeling like HAPPY is becoming a habit.
I'll be posting my interview soon on my social networks below. Stay tuned!
1. GUESS WHAT Number ... "Retirement" is on the list of 'Life's 43 most stressful life events'.
It’s #10! And that’s why I say we need to talk about your plans. Some people might find the transition easy, but many retirees are truly stressed at the challenge of creating a new identity and purpose.
2. GUESS WHAT … it might mean if your work defines “who you are” rather than “what you do.”
It will make leaving your workplace more difficult. Think about how you will introduce yourself when you retire, and please don’t say ‘I used to be!’ Thinking about who you are NOW and what you want NOW will help you create the things you will be retiring TO.
3. GUESS WHAT … will happen if your social connections are mostly related to your workplace.
It will probably be a lot harder to replace those connections. Finding new friends and interests before you leave your job will create a ready community of people you like to spend time with when you do retire.
By the way, a Harvard Grant Study has shown that having a strong social connection in retirement not only helps people outlive those who don’t but also aids in delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
4. GUESS WHAT … sitting at a desk most of the day can cause.
Complicated physical issues that can interfere with your retirement plans. Get up and get moving! Those grandkids want to play hide and seek. Your condo wants you to be on the pickleball team, and the dog just brought you his leash asking for a long walk. You don’t want to miss out on any of that – do you?
5. GUESS WHAT … believing that “the best is yet to come” can encourage.
Fresh ideas and possibilities! Having a positive mental outlook is not just being a cockeyed optimist. It helps you deal with change as well as giving you more energy for new opportunities and accomplishments. It also makes you more resilient so you can more easily handle the other ‘stuff’ that comes your way.
6. GUESS WHAT happens … when volunteering is what you want to do in retirement, but you don’t spend any time looking into it beforehand.
You will probably waste time searching for appropriate opportunities and get stuck in roles you don’t like. Start early thinking about organizations you want to help and make some inquiries.
Think about what you would like to do for an organization, so you don’t get stuck making phone calls or stuffing envelopes (unless, of course, you like that!).
AND BY THE WAY… one more
7. GUESS WHAT happens … when you WRITE DOWN goals you want to achieve.
Whether it’s a trip to Machu Picchu or creating an online creative cooking club, you will be more likely to achieve your goal if it is WRITTEN DOWN. (You’ve probably already done it on the financial side. Now do the same for all those non-financial issues!)
Research has shown that when goals are written down, it reminds us of what they are and what we need to do to achieve them. Just make sure you put the list in a place where you can easily find it.
No more guessing. Having a little extra information makes you smarter. Now you have it, so get started!
I recently worked with an executive who was thinking about retirement. In one of our initial sessions, I asked him about his hobbies.
Loretta Saff, M.A., CPC, CPRC