Tips for managing life after retirement

The youngest baby boomers are about 55 years old, the oldest in their 70s. That means a whole lot of people are retiring every day in this country. I know a few of those folks. Some say that after a few months, they didn’t know what to do with themselves, so they went back to work. Others say their blood pressure dropped and health improved.

Entering into retirement is an exciting adventure. You have worked for decades, and retirement from the workforce may feel liberating. Finally, you have more time to spend with your loved ones and engage in activities that you enjoy. The bucket list you have always wanted to tackle can finally be done.

Then something unexpected happens. You might realize that you miss feeling productive and you become uncertain of your purpose. You are not sure how to go about your day and you find that you are having a hard time adjusting to your new life. These uncomfortable feelings are normal and experienced by many retirees. It is important to understand that these ups-and-downs happen, and that eventually, you will likely settle into a comfortable routine, re-establish your sense of purpose, and enjoy your retired life.

Retirement can be a roller coaster of emotions and adventures, both fun and nerve-wracking. The stages of retirement highlight what some retirees may experience during their retirement years.

• Honeymoon. Retirees enjoy their newfound freedom and spend their time relaxing and engaging in activities that their previous working schedule did not allow.

• Disenchantment. Retirees may find a lull in their retirement, realizing that it may not be as exciting as what they had hoped. They may feel bored or lack a sense of purpose, missing the stimulation that work and colleagues provided. Retirees might ask themselves, “Did I retire too soon?”

• Reorientation. During this phase, retirees will reassess their retirement, engage in new activities, and reinvigorate their sense of purpose. They might also develop a more realistic plan for their retirement years.

• Retirement Routine. Retirees in this stage will effectively adapt to their new retired life and will feel content with their activities and purpose.

• Termination. Some retirees may terminate their retirement by returning to work, either part- or full-time. For most people, however, termination occurs when individuals become too sick or fragile to live their life independently.

A good conversation starter (even if that conversation is with yourself) is the K-State Research and Extension fact sheet, So Now What? Tips for Managing Life after Retirement

If you are already retired, where do you think you fit in these stages? It is important to be aware of these stages and understand that you might experience ups-and-downs during retirement. Despite this, retirement is an amazing opportunity to thrive and enjoy your life.

Nancy Nelson41 Posts

Nancy Nelson is the Meadowlark Extension District agent in the areas of family and child development.


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