By the time they reach retirement age, some people are so burned out, bitter, or damaged that they feel incapable of experiencing joy or happiness. After a lifetime of hard work, they are miserable. For many people, the only thing they enjoyed in life was their career. When they stop working, they feel lost and adrift. If you are feeling any of these things, you could use a roadmap on how to enjoy life after retiring.
You have spent the last several decades working to provide for and take care of yourself and your family. The vast majority of your waking hours were spent doing what needed to get done with little time, money, or energy left for doing what you wanted to do.
You might have had to deal with difficult bosses, marital troubles and financial crises. When you look back on your working life, you might feel dissatisfied with the compensation you received for your labors.
Shifting Your Focus
Continuing to approach life the same way you did during your career, might not bring you the happiness you would like in retirement. People who find fulfillment in their golden years often shift their focus from the concerns of making a living and raising a family to exploring other dimensions of life.
Regardless of how well you took care of yourself and how blessed you are with good health, eventually, your body will begin to lose strength and endurance. You can consider this reality a loss or a natural process.
Many people pay more attention to their spirituality or religion after retirement. They think about what matters and step away from things that do not bring them joy. Decluttering your life can be a lot like cleaning out a closet. You get rid of things you no longer need or want and unearth things you forgot were there.
It can be liberating to get away from toxic co-workers who brought you years of stress. You can replace them by looking up old friends or making new ones.
If you feel useless or not needed, you will not have fulfillment. After your career is behind you, it can be hard to figure out who you are and what you can contribute to society.
Finding a type of volunteer work can make you feel valuable and happy. Some people get such a rush from volunteering that they commit to it more than they should. When this happens, the person becomes unhappy and wonders what else to try, thinking that helping others made the volunteer miserable. In reality, being overscheduled made him unhappy. Simply cut back on your activities, until you find the right pace for you.
Everyone has valuable skills to teach others. If you can read, draw, play chess, sew, bake, create a budget, plant a garden, or any other task, someone out there wants to learn what you know. You do not need a Ph.D. to teach others useful life skills.
Be sure to give yourself the free time and solitude you want. Balance those aspects with stimulating social activities to stay connected and keep your brain healthy. You have earned this time, now enjoy it.
References: HuffPost. “How To Find Fulfillment In Life After Retirement.” (accessed October 9, 2019) https://www.huffpost.com/entry/how-to-find-fulfillment-i_b_11887068
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