Transition from full-time work to retirement

By Francine Van, Guest Contributor

Francine Vanderbolt

Francine Van

How does one transition from working full-time to retirement? This is a question I pondered in the months preceding my own retirement. We feel we are working out of necessity when we are working fulltime yet the period of transition into retirement has taught me there are both tangible (e.g. money) and intangible benefits to work.

There is now a need to work by choice and, yes, some of it is still related to actual financial needs. I find work is generally linked to a sense of being vital and also being a participating member of our society. Retirement is sometimes a nasty word with negative implications inferring you are no longer a contributing member of society – you are more likely to start to feel invisible and perhaps not having much self-worth.

The structure and schedule of work is a motivator to satisfy that need to stay busy, the sense of being valued and a reason to get up in the morning. Yes, volunteer work is helpful but does not totally fulfill this need for me, nor does helping an aged parent or being with your grandchildren. I speak only for myself and not for others although I realize this could work for some. As the children grow and become young adults there is less need for the grandparent. So, again you will find yourself in transition. I feel it is important at this point in life to find your passion … to listen to that little whisper in your mind that has been there all along and that you never listened to before and which slipped silently into your subconscious. As retirement approaches that whisper intrudes ever so quietly to remind you that there is still opportunity and purpose to this phase of your life.

I am becoming a real advocate for pursuing my passion and have found lots of reading material that substantiates it. I have also encountered lots of people who are taking on new second careers or starting a business of choice as an entrepreneur. I would love to hear more stories from anyone out there that has pursued this. I am still finding my way in this regard – still nervous about the rejection that comes with it and with stretching my soul, going just that little bit outside of my comfort zone. I want to enjoy this time of life. At this point I am changing jobs again …(smile)…and feel a total freedom that I am no longer concerned with employment insurance benefits so I can change jobs as frequently as I like with no consequence as my employment is now by choice! A little healthy stress just lets you know you are still alive.

I continue to pursue my photography interests in hopes of sharing and expanding this creative activity. I keep watching for miracles every day …. for opportunities that come along, great opportunities such as when I met a stranger on a bus tour who happens to know web design and can help develop my website. My last job after retirement taught me some retail expertise including how to talk to strangers, to be open to another’s energy, and to sharpen my intuitive skills. I think everything we experience through various phases of life shapes the path we walk during our golden years and helps us to embrace our destiny whether it is one we have chosen for ourselves or one that has been thrust upon us.

Retirement is a journey we take by ourselves and hopefully we will learn to make lemonade with the lemons life sometimes throws at us!

About Golden Wave Movement Canada

The Golden Wave Movement is a made up of engaged individuals who have serious concerns about the increasing challenges retirees surviving on modest pension incomes face nowadays. While our main purpose is to raise awareness of the financial difficulties faced by this vulnerable group of citizens, we also intend to raise awareness regarding challenges related to their physical, emotional and psychological well-being and how to enjoy their golden years.
This entry was posted in Baby boomers, Golden Years, Quality of life, Retirement, Retirement hobbies, Retirement income, Retirement planning, Seniors demographic and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Transition from full-time work to retirement

  1. Anna says:

    Loved your post. I also have been hearing that ‘little whisper’ you refer to but can’t do much about it at the moment. After being laid off at age 59 with a so-so exit package life has not been easy. I also resorted to working in retail to survive but the hours are not as regular as I would like. My little whisper tells me to follow a longing I’ve had to set up my own home-business as a caterer. I love cooking and baking and creating exciting recipes that people can enjoy and hopefully will provide good earnings. Your high energy level has certainly inspired me to get cracking on putting a plan together.


  2. Aniela says:

    Good luck to you with finding some employment. So many of us in the ‘grey cohort’/boomers who are now looking for work are facing unprecedented challenges to survive even with parttime work. My investments that were intended to sustain me during retirement have been whittled away due to those fraudsters in the financial industry. It is not easy to feel optimistic but I won’t give in. The alternative is too dark to contemplate. I admire your upbeat approach to the challenges we boomers are facing.


  3. dolphinswimmer says:

    It is very important to find your passion well before retirement. We need to be debt free to pursue that passion. Agree with you that we need to feel vital after leaving the workforce and miss the feeling of being valued. There is a reality check when dealing with loved ones after retiring. Quite often your family feels you now have all the time in the world to do all kinds chores for them. I recently started volunteering with a seniors group and although enjoy it I miss that sense of being vital that I experienced while working fulltime. Great that you are reading up on the topic. Will follow your example as I have a lot to learn in how to get back that feeling of being valued.


  4. Lisa says:

    This is such an honest and close to the heart commentary about the journey we take in retirement. Nowadays for most of us these golden years are not a fairytale. Life sure can throw you some curved balls. Francine you have courage and don’t have to be too nervous about going after a new career in your golden years. You seem to have a lot of spirit and also have creative skillls. Just go for it!


  5. Lonnie says:

    Yes… you have said it well! Now that I am retired I want to have a reason to get up every morning and with a sense of purpose. You need to hvae a purpose and reason to live. Having activities that make you come alive you would be a reason to get up and face the world every day. Hobbies and volunteer work should be on the bucket list of all retirees. It is very important to get involved with some kind of creative activity, especially one where you can give back something to society.


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