Retirement for me is defined as an end leading to a beginning. It seems backwards, right? It suggests the reverse of what it should be. Becoming “retired” however is just that. It is ending your work life to begin your “retired” life. With that transition comes adjustments which involve multiple modifications and some compromises.
Retirement is defined as leaving one’s job, ceasing to work. Adjustments are part of the transition. An adjustment is defined as the process of adapting or becoming used to a new situation.
Retirement is popularly understood as being set free from a job and career and having the freedom to do whatever you wish, if you are financially secure.
You end your life of doing whatever you needed to do to make enough to allow you to do what you want to do….right? And then what?
Well, that’s where I am. I have worked for over 50 years. I may not have been the “bread winner” in our household, but I contributed. Granted, some of my positions were part time or stay at home, but I worked to assist in supporting myself and my family. In that time frame I had 2 separate careers. My first was as a Registered Nurse and my second was as a business owner. I suppose if we get technical I also had a career as a mom, and another as an unpaid volunteer, both full time positions.
Popular culture says that most of us will have 7 careers in our lifetime. Really? Things have certainly changed. Regardless, I finished my last career in July 2014. In the past months there have been substantial changes in my life and I am just now beginning to take the time to come to terms with what all of this means.
Is retirement a career? I am beginning to think so.
There are no manuals or instructions on this career. Oh, yes, there are plenty of books and guides on becoming financially secure so that you can retire. There are plenty of people who are happily retired. There is a lot of information out there on retirees happily traveling, etc, but how did they get there? Did all of them go from work to this new so called freedom easily? Were there struggles? Did they cope with retirement adjustments?
I have determined over these past months in the reading I have done, that most retirees face challenges and that there seem to be phases of transition and adjustments.
I have determined that retirement can be classified as a career or profession. My biggest problem is that while I am progressing through the stages and determining what my personal retirement will be, time is ticking away. I am beginning to feel a quiet stress that my time is shortening and my ability to think and move is gradually declining. I am also quietly questioning if our retirement savings will actually be enough or will we be caught short at the end of it all, forced into an unwanted lifestyle.
After an initial period of orientation at the beginning of my retirement I recognized the importance of setting goals. I set three initial goals which focused on what I viewed as primary for beginning a productive and fulfilling retirement. The initial goals were:
1. To influence the lives of my grand girls. To impact their young lives in a positive and consistent way without interfering with their parents’ control.
2. To write…to blog.
3. To cook. Since I LOVE to cook, I set a goal to fix at least one new recipe several times per week. Since I volunteered to cook for the entire family on Mondays and Wednesdays, I would definitely plan new creations on those days.
How am I doing? I am writing. In fact maybe too much. I am contributing to a blog with my sisters, Three Forks in the Road. I am writing a blog directly for my Granddaughters, Letters From Granma, and I have initiated this blog Porch Perfect Living which has developed into an exploration of myself and my retirement.
I am cooking. I have tried so many new and exciting recipes. I have created new recipes of my own. I have organized my menu planning, and grocery shopping. My cooking skills have improved and we are eating so well at home that we seldom go out.
My biggest concern at this point is the first and my most important goal. Making a difference in the lives of my granddaughters. From the beginning of our relocation it has caused me the most turmoil. It is calling for the most attention for adjustments. I plan to delve honestly into my dilemma in a future post.
For now I am attempting to determine if I need to reevaluate my goals and make additional Retirement Adjustments. Retirement…it continues to be a process.