Men - Adjusting to Retirement
I dedicate this to my dad in hope that he reads it and this article may help him enter what should be an exciting time of ones life and to celebrate the achievements and dedication he has had to his career. I thank all the older inspiration people in my life who have given me ideas for this article.
For some retirement is a gift filled with fun, excitement and adventures and yet for others this adjustment can be a struggle. From what I have observed men seem to struggle more at the start of retirement than females.
Life is a choice and what ever you take from this article could be a bonus. This is the time in your life you can redesign things for the better. In this day and age we can live so much longer and healthier for many years to come. There is knowledge on prevention, genetics, nutrition, exercise and if we are healthy and fit by 80 there is no reason we cannot live past 100 according to the book "Blue Zones".
Sense Of Purpose
Often in life our identity is tied up with our profession hence when removing this job some people have to redefine their sense of purpose and reason to get up each day. Everyone has a human need to be needed, a need to have a role. Maybe it is also ok to have times in our life when we just be and can sit back, watch, observe and feel contented with life.
Women in most cases have had life changes like pregnancy, child rearing and hence breaks in career. Women in general have fuller social lives and when their husband retires he watches her busy life and is frankly not sure where he belongs. Retirement can take good communication, new planning together and rediscovering what you have in common and what you can enjoy together in retirement for things to start to feel normal again for both partners. This can take time, patience and can for some couples be a very frustrating time. The happiest couples I have seen retirement work well for divide their time- do some things alone, some activities with mates and some activities or holidays they do together. For the women your routine which you have always enjoyed may need to be reassessed. Or the male might need to find his own interests so he is not at home waiting for his wife to come home. It takes a lot of adjustment.
To start with get up at the same time most days and do not sleep beyond 8.30am. Our body likes regular sleep patterns. Chart out an activity table so you can see what can be done or what you would like to achieve marking in any courses/classes/activities you are attending.
If you do not already - plan a regular exercise regime into this schedule. No matter what your condition is there is always an exercise for you. Try and include something that is weight bearing. If your work has been an inside profession finding an activity that is outside in fresh air is ideal. Another great idea is to continue pilates or take up pilates for core stability. Other Ideas - walking, swimming, bike riding, tai chi, qi gong, walking groups and dancing. Build a new sporting activity up so you do not get any injuries when your body may not be used to it. If you are a motivated person you may be able to do this on your own and put it in your new weekly schedule hence if you need a push put yourself in a class or group so you are committed to be there.
People may choose to simplify their investments or living space. This once again can take some adjusting and there is no hurry to do this and you can talk to financial advisors if you feel a bit overwelmed. By simplifying your home or selling an investment it can free up some money to enjoy for travel, living expenses and fun things or keep investments and use the rent for living expenses.
The need to feel needed can be fulfilled with volunteer work that you may have never had time for. This gives you purpose, it is a great way to meet people and if your purpose is fulfilling, life is better. For some volunteer work is not the go but they may take up a part time job.
Talk to friends, family, partners etc and plan trips small and big that you can look forward to and create great memories.
For a social person the first thing they do in retirement is join groups but for a person with less confidence or a more independent thinker this could be a challenging adjustment to retirement. Do not be scared to take the plunge and join groups.
Here are some ideas:
U3A - University of the 3rd Age - local one is Pines doncaster - u3amanningham.org.au
Menshed - closest is croydon and whitehorse www.croydonmensshed.org.au
Local fitness clubs or Swimming facilities
Local walking groups - www.mannchs.org.au/social activity- programs/walking-groups
Singing choirs / amateur theatre
Church groups in your community
Lions - lionsclubs.org.au
Rotary - www.rotary.org.au
Probis. - www.probusvic.com.au
Friends and Family
As children and grandchildren grow up their lives get busy, so if you want to be part of their lives spend time with them, go watch their sports, show an interest, offer to help them with school work, art or projects. It is precious time and the weeks go by fast. Keep in touch with friends and family. Do not wait for the calls, you call them. Make an effort to catch up otherwise you may end up lonely.
Now is the time you can do your hobbies again or even take up a brand new hobbie or take up a class to improve your hobbie. Ideas - photography, musical instrument, gardening, vegetable garden, art, computer courses, writing, poetry, animal training, a new pet (best companion), cooking etc.
It is always easy to do the things we know and are familiar with but much more challenging to do things that stimulate the brain. This is very personal and only you know what is useful or not. Crosswords, book groups, new courses, new instruments, teaching, suduko, luminosity (computer game for brain function and improvement), new technology and even new exercise all help stimualte the brain in different ways. With anything you are not confident with do it slowly and methodically and get someone very patient to teach you at your understanding level. We watch the children pick up new skills and computer technology so quickly but as we get older learning new things cannot be expected to be as quick and can take a lot more effort. Be patient with yourself and do things at your level and when you want to.
Yes I left it til last and it is so important to help us stay well and live longer into our retirement. Eat well, really good quality food, drink filtered water and eat in a relaxed environment. Do not consume toxins (alcohol, caffeine) where possible. See your naturopath and doctor for regular check ups. Do not consume sugar and food additives like artificial sweetners and MSG and colouring! Do not consume soft drink. We are all born with genetic tendencies but if we stay healthy we do not have to get these conditions and it is not our set destiny. The changes you make nutritionallly can improve your genetics.
FAVOURITE QUOTES FOR RETIREMENT:
"You fulfilled all your professional ambitions. Now is the time to achieve your personal aspirations. Retirement is the start of 'life's golden phase'. Give your childhood dreams one final chance "- unknown
"And in the end it is not the years in your life that count it's the life in your years" - Abraham Lincoln
" You are never too old to set another goal or to dream another dream" - C.S Lewis
" Remember the past with fondness, look to future with eagerness, Live every moment to the fulliest" - Colossians 3:17
" Don't simply retire from something, have something to retire to" - Harry Emerson Fosdick
written by Maedy Colenso ND 2016