Working towards the decision to leave your full time work life after 30 plus years can be a process fraught with emotional ups and downs. After becoming emotionally exhausted while considering all of the possibilities and pitfalls of this decision, consulting my family, and making multiple trips to my financial planner, I decided that leaving full time work sooner rather than later made more sense. Being indecisive about any decision let alone a major life change, can be draining and irritating to those who are closest to us.
So early in 2017, I provided several months notice to my employer and began the process of ensuring all loose ends that I could tie were tied and began the process of saying my goodbyes to colleagues. At this point in the journey, my future horizon seemed to be lined with possibility and excitement. Seeking some guidance about this transition meant that I discovered there was a dearth of resources for someone who is retiring, outside of financial advice and assistance. Even the process of how to access my pension where I worked wasn’t well understood as few people in the organization that I worked for had retired yet!
It is an interesting phenomena that this major life transition doesn’t have an attached and well established industry of retirement coaches, counsellors, and supportive transition networks. Before you actually make the decision to leave a workplace, there aren’t typically many options to help you explore and examine the non-financial aspects of this life change. There are also very few books and online resources, specifically, written about the emotional aspects during the transition to retirement. I found myself searching widely for anything that might serve as a guide.
The resources that I did manage to find, inspired hope and fueled my quest for reinvention in the next stage in my life. Five books that I found most helpful were:
1). How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free: Retirement wisdom that you won’t get through your financial advisor. Ernie J. Zelinski (2017).
2). Life Reimagined: The Science, Art, and Opportunity of Midlife. Barbara Bradley Hagerty. (2016).
3). Writing through Transitions: A guide for transforming life changes. Leia Francisco (2015)
4). Revitalizing Retirement: Reshaping your identity, relationships, and purpose. Nancy Schlossberg. (2009).
5). Transitions: Making sense of life’s changes. William Bridges. (1980).
Making any life altering decision is never an easy process and learning how to navigate the path to retirement has been a series of trial and errors. Creating connections post retirement has helped ease me into this amazing next chapter of life. I am continuing to seek out the experiences of others which provides new ideas, strategies, and further exploration in this journey. What types of supports and resources have you found most helpful in making any type of life change?