Announcing My (Semi) Retirement
My Retirement Didn’t Come Easy, But I plan to make It Easy Enough for Myself
No matter how much you look forward to it, retiring from work is a major milestone and a life challenge that can be stressful and beneficial. For some, it led to health complications, while for some, they could cope and move on. Thankfully, I was among the latter, as I was able to adjust to my new life and reward myself in the long run. Many of us have a picture of what we want our retirement to be – an ideal retirement many call it. For example, spending more time with friends and families, traveling the world, or even pursuing a hobby. Regardless of the dream, a lot of us want to relax and go easy while enjoying freedom. But the road to retirement is never as smooth as we imagine it. For me, I had planned the financial aspects of my retirement. I definitely didn’t want to rely on handouts to survive. However, like most people, I almost didn’t pay attention to the psychological impact of retiring from work. See, before now, I had a career in writing. I had worked large and small contract jobs for various businesses. I am the type of guy that you can say has written on and edited everything a writer can write about. And, yes. I loved my job. I even loved my colleagues and work environment more. As you must have clearly noticed, I seem like the type of guy that must have had retirement figured out long before the time was ever due.
Escaping the long commute, daily grind, difficult boss, and workplace politics started as an initial relief. However, like most new retirees, I found out after a few months that my vacation mode was starting to wear off. This is because I missed my sense of identity – the meaning and purpose that came with my job and the structure it gave my days. Apart from this, I also missed my co-workers and the social aspect. Thankfully, instead of feeling bored and isolated, I decided to find a way to fill my days to avoid grieving for my old life. I started my own business consulting company that works to enhance systems and processes. But like I said, it wasn’t always this easy.
Some of the challenges I had to overcome include: The feeling of anxiety of not having enough money to spend Difficulty filling my extra hours with meaningful activities The feeling of isolation due to lack of social interaction from being around my coworkers. A decline in my perception self importance Adjusting to my routine and maintaining my relevance.
But I had to adjust, and I did. Let me put it straight to you; one of the best ways to push through with your retirement is to embrace change. To embrace change can mean losing friends or moving away from an old place – which I later did. I will get to that part in a bit. I needed to adjust my attitude and see my retirement as a journey and not a destination. As a result, I gave myself enough time to figure things out. I changed direction when I needed to and built resilience while at it. After adjusting my attitude, I also took time to acknowledge my emotions.
When I felt sad, I accepted the unpleasant emotion as something that would soon pass. I spoke to a few friends, found comfort in my family, and even kept my records. By accepting the things that I cannot change, I chose to focus my energy on the things that I can change. For example, I started my own business. This way, I was able to redefine my identity through new activities and relationships. Where I was once a writer for businesses and companies, I plan to start on my own as a freelance writer, still doing what I loved doing but in a new environment.
My Semi Retirement
Now, I will do freelance writing and small contracts jobs in writing ads for local businesses. I can tell you, I have new goals that have provided me with a sense of purpose and a redefinition of my identity. To give credit, I didn’t have to face it all alone. Now, I am moving to French Forest in Sydney, Australia, together with my wife and son, and boy, they have been a major support. With time, I will strengthen my social network and see what Sydney has in store for us. Eventually, our new landscape will become familiar territory, and I am so confident we will do great.