By Francine Van, Guest Contributor
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!