Retirement: Who Am I?

by Ripley
(Retirement Community)

Who am I really? Who am I when I no longer work for a living? I have been taught to define myself by what I do, so who am I when I stop doing whatever I've been doing to make a living? Who am I behind the mask and costume I've been wearing all these years?

I've been led to believe that I'm not much more than a work horse, so now that I've been put out to pasture what's left of me? Do I look for something else to do so that I can continue telling myself that this is all there is, that this busy-ness is who I am?

What if retirement is really a significant turning point in my life that beckons me to uncover who I truly am beyond who I thought I was? What if my life so far has been a gradual unfolding like the petals of a flower opening to expose the awesome beauty within? What if I am destined to shift my focus from the outer world toward seeing myself more clearly?

I am, after all, a human "being", not a human "doing". When I no longer cover up my essence, my soulfulness, my raw passionate aliveness, what do I find? What aspects of myself have I been negating that are begging for my attention? What feelings and emotions are crying out, waiting to be set free?

How can I ever expect to be at peace with myself if I haven't taken the time to really get to know myself on deeper levels?

What if the meaning of life is to get in touch with how it feels to be fully alive? What if it's just that plain and simple?

Comments for Retirement: Who Am I?

Click here to add your own comments

Something just dawned on me...
by: Wendy

WOW... like an affirmation, every time a retiree responds to another story, and relate a part of their own story -- but saying how they've conquered their issues... they grow and internally confirm they are past it.

As I read Rose reply on being a nurse, I thought she is helping others again with her comments -- but then it dawned on me --


Just like an affirmation that you say over and over until your subconscious finally accepts the new idea as real... and it simply becomes part of your mindset. When you type your story, over and over, you really are confirming to yourself that your retirement is happy and fulfilling, or whatever you have to share with others.

Thank you!!

Oh you speak to where I was
by: Rose Raintree Arlington Wa.

I could so relate to your blog as this is where I was 4 years ago after my identity for 35 years was Rose the RN. Well after 4 years I am happy to say I know who I am and am so thankful while not planned I retired and discovered ME again.

I am so happy with my life and who I have become and each day is becoming better.

I believe like most things it is how we approach it and what we do with it that will decide the outcome. And I decided to dig in and discover who I am today, not who I was as the RN but who I am as the woman and I have discovered she is pretty terrific and has by the grace of God some happy years ahead of her.

So I encourage you to embrace where you are and start peeling that onion and find those surprises that might be waiting underneath all the layers built by become a human doing.

by: pat slattery. ireland

I retired inn 2012 voluntary,at 61, but it took me 4 years to come to terms and wonder what it was all about , if I had my decision again ,I would stay working until I had no choice, it's better for your mentle health to work, especially if u have worked all your life, it makes u feel old to retire, my view now,is work until you have to retire. It's the hardest thing to get used to.i hope this helps people somehow .pat

I agree
by: Your nobody importantName/Location

I have said for years and tried to believe it...."my job is what I do, not who I am".

I've found since I retired that's not entirely accurate for me. But going into month 4 of retirement I'm now okay with it.

It's a work in progress adjusting to the new status.

the truth
by: Rose Raintree Arlington Wa.

For me the joy in retirement was having the time to discover me again and find out that while the basics were still there, years of raising kids, working hard every day, and being too exhausted to consider who I am becoming.

Retirement -- awww yes, it slows the past way down, takes you off the treadmill so you can recover that person you buried inside for way to many years meeting the demands of others in your life.

Now it is your time to explore and hopefully as I have discover that this truly is the best time of our lives, if you can just accept yourself and others and keep moving.

You are you
by: Elna Nugent, Lenox, MA

Dear Ripley:

Retirement, especially for a man, is probably his biggest challenge in life.

Our early and middle life is a time to develop physical and emotional muscles and learn to use our intelligence and identity as part of earning a living in this world and provide for and protect a human family. For some, no marriage or children are necessary to develop such muscle. Learning to live independently is another challenge that can build a different kind of empowerment.

Women historically always found the empty nest to be their biggest challenge. In today's world, women have earning power like men and have learned to equate their egos and identities with their jobs. Without both children, or jobs, women can feel utterly lost.

Silence is a very powerful teacher. When we are alone and the chatter in our brains ebbs, wow, we can begin to sense a guidance that has always been there, but was never recognized.
We have everything and all we need but never knew it.

Thank You Ripley!
by: Wendy

OMGoodness. this is so good " Who am I behind the mask and costume I've been wearing all these years? " and so freaking true.

SOME people might fit their occupation and the personality is totally them. MANY OTHERS fit our personality and life to match the job.... we become what is expected of us.

AND YET - we retire and miss it.

There is much more to life... find it.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Write Your Own Story Here (others can provide feedback).