Eva Bennett

Planning Your Life in Retirement

Retirement – Reflection…..Resilience……Renewal

Remember how we learnt the 3 R’s at school – reading, writing & arithmetic. And now, as we get closer to the other end of our life cycle, we have the 3 R’s again!

Reflection–As we get closer to the end of our working life, which may have spanned 40yrs, it is a good time to start reflecting on what we have achieved in both our personal & work lives; what obstacles we have overcome; what interests we have developed; how we get on with the people around us. Also, the dreams or goals we still want to realise, now that we’ll have more time to do the things we put on the ‘back-burner’ while we were busy working full-time, bringing up a family & whatever else demanded our time & attention. Rather than looking with regret at what we may not have done, we can now look at the new opportunities that are possible. In this reflection process, we can start a ‘bucket list’ of the things we would still like to do in our lives. This gives us something to look forward to, rather than feeling like everything has come to a standstill.

Resilience –After the big changes that retirement brings, resilience helps us to ‘bounce back’. No matter how well -prepared you think you are for this new stage of life after work, many people find that it can be a shock to the system, when the reality kicks in, that you are not going back to your workplace. A fear can take hold, of not knowing how to live life, now that the routines & structures of work life are gone. If not dealt with, it can lead to depression, particularly for men. Staying positive, seeking help & believing that you can move through this transition period, is all part of being resilient. Research is finding that people who maintain an optimistic outlook , can live up to 12yrs longer & in better health, than someone who has a pessimistic outlook.

Renewal – The time spent on reflection keeps our outlook more hopeful & positive, our mental & physical health balanced, makes us more resilient & helps us to renew ourselves in this new stage of our lives. When we see that retirement can be an exciting new beginning, we aren’t caught up in dwelling on the past. We bounce back with renewed energy, re-inventing ourselves, regaining the feeling of self-worth we had in our other life. We explore the opportunities that are available in our community, to use our skills & talents to help others & to learn new skills. Life takes on new meaning, we make new friends, we maintain our health & we enjoy life!

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