Monday, August 20, 2012
Along The Paths of Retirement
Retirement is defined as leaving the paid labor force. Many people think that it is a single event; a happy one if they are financially secure and are retiring voluntarily and not so happy if they are financially challenged and/or are being forced to leave social connections and/or their work identities behind.
I voluntarily retired at the end of last August. I had been preparing to do so for some time, including the creation of this blog and workshops including humor, wisdom and retirement The workshops are created for both those doing pre-retirement planning, and those who have already have already left work. And I have not left Kwantlen entirely. In the spring 2012 I signed up as a substitute teacher and have been called once so far.
According to Robert Atchley, a highly respected gerontologist, rather than thinking of retirement as a single event, it can be better understood as series of adjustments[i]. Not everyone goes through all of them. See if any of the following three possible paths may reflect your experience. They are:
1. The honeymoon path is a happy time; especially for those with good financial status when a person attempts to do all the things that he or she never had time to do while working. Traveling is a frequent choice. (Not me)
2. Another option is immediate retirement routine. Many of us already have activities besides work. For instance I volunteer and the local seniors centre and am creating a series of workshops that will not only benefit the community but also help me financially. I’m keeping busy with my blog and workshop activities. My next workshop with be presented to TALK. In words it’s Third Age Learning At Kwantlen
3. The last option is rest and relaxation during which individuals sit back, relax and catch up on their reading. This period may last several years and then we pick up on our previous level of activity. I have been reading a lot of novels but I am also following research articles and I am following my wife developing Acrylic Painting
Retirees may also experience disenchantment. Honeymoons don’t last forever. We may miss our work and feel a lack of productivity. Or we might experience the death of a loved one or be forced to move from our neighborhood and community. These experiences may last several years before we can return to our previous level of activity. In extreme cases we may experience depression. Fortunately the proportion of people who become depressed is reported to be quite small
The return to activity is seen as a reorientation period during which we re-evaluate our situation and become more realistic in our choices. We can then develop more satisfying routines.
In planning for retirement it’s important to remember that, as a society we are increasing our longevity. Retirement can last a long time and continues to require adaptation.