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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Retirement and Subjective Well-Being

         I recently found an interesting article regarding subjective well-being and retirement.[i]   The authors assert that “retirement…unfolds over time and ecological context which can promote or distract from the quality of life.”  Research up to the time of the publication of their article supports the idea that our feelings about retirement depend on how attached we are to our work.  If we are strongly attached, as many academics are, we may feel psychological stress.  On the other hand “…retirement from the demands of a career job may reduce role strain.” 
         The authors go on to present their idea of  “A life-course ecological approach that is based on a model that looks at “development and change over the life span.”  They go on to say   “…Research shows that family, education, employment, and other experiences all help to shape the transition into retirement,” They go on to assert  that “…with increases in longevity, retirement is more of a midlife transition.”
         I think that’s the way I am looking at it. Like most of people, I need to balance my income with my social activity.  Last week I was invited to lecture about retirement at the aging class, which I designed some years ago at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Today I received a small check for the lecture. Not much but it will help with the groceries
          I also went for a thirty-minute walk to Wall Mart and purchased some colored light bulbs. When I returned home I got our ladder out of the garage and replaced the bulbs that have reached their limits over the last several years.  This is related to what I have mentioned above in that my actions were pro-active.  I was doing a self-created job, much different from lecturing but still quite satisfying.
          As I type these words the Rolling Stones remind me of the song; You can't always get what you want (no). But if you try sometimes you just might find you get what you need.
         Perhaps we need to change the word retirement. We could use something new. The word has a history that goes back over 400 years.  Its Synonyms are:  pullback, pullout, recession, retreat, and withdrawal.   I have labeled my blog Retirement: Third Age New Beginnings. 
Do you have any ideas?

[i] Jungmeen J.E. & Moen, P. (2001) Is Retirement Good or Bad for Subjective  Well-Being? In Current Directions in Psychological Science, Vol 10, (3),   pp. 83-86.

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