Fear No More

I’m writing this post on Halloween day. Today fear is welcomed. Enjoy it while it lasts!

“The enemy is fear. We think it is hate; but, it is fear.”

Gandhi

In my readings on retirement a common pattern arises. People near to stepping outside of the work box fear it. I speak about retirement with friends, family, and people in general, all in their 50s, as part my journey to dig deeper into the subject. At some point of the conversation I always ask, what do you fear about retirement? 90% of  the time the answer relates to the word health. I must confess this response disappoints me.  Shouldn’t we be fearing being disengage with life after retirement more? When I think of the 43% of retirees who fall into depression because they lose purpose, that statistic scares me.

Taking care of pending shores and visiting new places or revisiting others gives most new retirees direction during the first years of retirement. Then the need for a higher purpose kicks in. Striving for self-fulfillment has never been as important as it is during this stage of life. What gave us purpose in the past disappears or is replaced by unfamiliar activities. Our children are gone; our identification with the job title we used to have vanishes; the network of friends reduces as we lose contact with co-workers;  and the daily stimuli from work is replaced with routines. It sounds scary. “Meaningful activity will play a huge role in your retired life. If you feel bored, depressed, or unsatisfied with what you do for large part of the day, it can take a serious toll on your physical and mental health,” says Robin Ryan author of Retirement Reinvention.

The situation begs the question, what to do?

We have worked hard to build the financial support for retirement. Our basic needs of food, water, shelter and safety should be covered by our financial retirement plan. Despite this financial effort, we know that mankind doesn’t live on bread only.

The need for achievement, independence, development of our full potential and self-actualization (full realization of one’s creative, intellectual, or social potential) requires planning as well. Fortunately, we are now 50+ and that comes with some advantages (finally, the good news!)

The pre-retirement advantage: income for experimentation.

The retirement advantage: tested plan (if we have experimented in pre-retirement), time, experience, knowledge.

With 10 years ahead of me before retiring, my goal is to experiment with options. I’m looking forward to discovering the ones that I will pursue in retirement. Fear no more! I will learn my way to a happy retirement; to a realization of my full potential. Health issues may still come but I may cheat some illnesses by keeping myself engaged with life.

“Fears are educated into us, and can, if we wish, be educated out.”

Karl Augustus Menninger

Ready to educate out your fear of retirement?

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