Monday, January 31, 2011


Retirement (like death) is inevitable. And this is well known to most people during their active professional lives. Still, retirement can be a very unnerving phase for many individuals, one which can deeply impact individuals and their families.

Why is Retirement so difficult?
• It requires change – As humans, our openness and acceptability to change reduces with time. And then retirement means a huge change in every life dimension – ranging from lack of routine, to lack of a work environment, to lack of regular financial income, to lack of a professional network, to lack of a purpose.
Typically, if a change is slow and gradual, we are able to adapt better. But in retirement, one fine day it’s all gone. However much you think you are mentally equipped to deal with it, nothing can prepare you completely for the actual experience. However much you are ready and mentally conditioned, yet many things will catch you by shock and surprise. And leave you feeling unhappy – even if this is a passing emotion.
• There’s abundance of time – Suddenly time is in abundance and there’s nothing really to do. There’s no sense of purpose. No life goal. No excitement.
• Everyone is busy in their lives – While we were working, everyone around us got busy with their own lives. And now suddenly, we can’t expect them to change gears and be available with us. And even if they are, what can we do together? We all change,We all grow, We all discover ourselves. And sometimes after retirement, we find that we don’t really have any common interests with those around us.
• There’s nothing tangible to achieve, no pressure, no deadline – Somewhere along the way we become so accustomed to associating achievement and success with tangibility and materialistic goals. And then one fine day, it’s all gone. Something which was the purpose of our life simply does not exist. There’s a deep void that needs to be filled.
• There’s no power, no one to control – And we got totally accustomed to power, to being in control and to control others around us. Suddenly, we feel out of control. And sometimes, even controlled by others. Not a very pleasant experience for many since the change is very visibile, drastic and rapid.

4 Point Mantras for Retirement
1) Plan It – Every year (at least on your birthday) you know how many more years you have to retirement. So plan for it. The two things which one definitely needs to plan are:
a. Financial Planning – Some basic maths and a broad view on how the finances will play out to sustain and maintain the desired lifestyle is essential
b. Planning your Time – You need to discover your passion / hobbies / talents / interests – at least 3 years before retirement. And you need to set aside time and start working consciously on these so that when you actually retire, the transition will be smooth

2) Accept It – There’s a reason why retirement is mandated in most professions. So accept it. 

3) Pursue things you love - All through our working lives we postponed a zillion things saving them for retirement. Anything from reading, writing, travelling, socializing, social service, spending time with family and friends. And the only reason that one did not do this is for paucity of time, And now that time is in abundance, it is a great opportunity to do something constructive and meaningful with your time and life.

4) Give back – And there are countless ways to do this. All through our lives, there have been several people who have touched our lives and done meaningful things to propel us forward. You can reach out to them and in your own way acknowledge their contributions in your life. You can write and share anything valuable.
And by the time one retires, there’s so much you would have learnt by virtue of your experiences. Share the lessons of life – There will always be someone who will be willing to listen. And there will always be someone to whom you can make a difference. You can also invest time in social service. You can do something meaningful with the younger generation. As long as you are clear about the intent, the method will unfold itself in front of you

So embrace retirement. And enjoy the many joys it brings in your life…

No comments:

Post a Comment