“When you can afford to not work all day, every day, the real prize is not the leisure. It’s the chance to begin again in a direction that reflects who you’ve become.” Mary Lloyd, Supercharged Retirement
Work is an essential part of feeling productive as a human being. For many, retirement means the end of permanent employment, and often (not always!) with this end comes a loss of self-esteem and connection with others. So, ceasing work means you are giving up a lot more than a paycheck and demanding schedule. Consider how you are going to feel fulfilled in this life area following retirement – the euphoria of simply not having to clock in any longer may soon wear off.
This time in your life can be confusing, overwhelming and scary; but it is also an opportunity to make a choice about how you want to structure your life moving forward. You do not necessarily have to stop working; you may need to continue earning an income, or may just choose to work because you love what you do.
Retirement offers the chance to explore the possibility of living and working differently: full-time or part-time work? consulting? volunteering? pursuing something completely new? The goal should be to fit work into life, rather than continuing to squeeze life into work.
Of course, you may, after years of hard work, decide you do not want to work at all and opt for a more traditional retirement. Knowing what you enjoy and value about your career is a good place to start; but the why, what, where and when will be particular to you.
Work can be defined as a meaningful and productive engagement, and we can collect either a monetary or an emotional pay cheque – or both. But whether you are getting paid or not, you need to feel that you are still useful and relevant.