1 yr in, retired at 60. Part two: the journey continues
Read Part 1 Here
I am really touched by many of the responses to my first posting and also much more conscious of the number of people that are experiencing exact, or a subset of, common elements of retirement depression.
In the time since I first shared my personal story, nothing has really been fully resolved nor the depression totally lifted, but that’s the very nature of life itself whether you’re working or not.
I begin to recognize the reality that we each are wired completely differently but with categoric similarities; groupings in the way we react and live with our environmental stresses.
Some people really do walk into retirement with a smile, cast off the shackles of being “identity tied” to their careers, and live a boundlessly happy life while not feeling a trace of the gray clouds that darken other’s retirements. Of none of their own fault, many of those people drive us partiy cloudy types somewhat crazy.
One commonality I notice amongst the truly at peace retired is that all parts of themselves buy into the concept and definition of retired happiness.
I have a new friend, in that class of retired happy, who tells me that when one part of himself questions his worth in retirement he takes the time to have a quiet conversation with himself to better understand what is the specific element of unhappiness is that’s currently significant.
He goes onto say that trying to heap together the current and specific issue with all the other issues as just general unhappiness or a malaise associated with being retired is just too broad to control, too much to think through. He writes down the specific element of unhappiness and the details of the conversation with himself in case it ever pops up again.
The same as any career experience, you want to assure you don’t need to resolve the same issue multiple times. I’ve put that into practice and have been both frightened by the size of my list and delighted at the number of repeats I have been able to avoid. Using this method has also helped me to avoid what I would call spinning conversations with myself.
So many elements contributing to a veritable cacophony of complaints is never productive in a private conversation, but I’ve had many of those.
A significant element of my personal stresses is change management, coping with the constant changes in a retired life.
In a working life change management is largely prescribed where as retirement is be your own boss and deal with all new issues you haven’t dealt with before. I have readjusted My plans once again and have taken on a low stress, low hours consulting contract with previous business acquaintances. I would have happily moved forward working with the local vendor I spoke of in my last post, but this feels more comfortable.
Wow, am I learning a lot and having very impressionable conversations with myself regarding the feelings and details of working vs not. I now understand (better) what I will be stepping into when I re-retire; the conversations with myself much more focused and reasonable.
At this point, I don’t expect to extend my working contract past 6 months. I’m anxious to try again, exert more personal control and focus into my retired life and to have meaningful and durable retirement conversations with myself.
I’ll recognize if I need a working diversion in the future and act accordingly, but more than that, will realize the absolute value of my individual, daily retirement plans, talk frequently and honestly with myself, and, as I did my entire career, identify and manage my accomplishments and happiness.
Catch you in a few months and best of luck in your continued pursuit of happiness.