From Work Life to New Life is a book written by Mike Mister and Rebecca Hill which focuses on professionals and what they do in later life. They call this Encore, I call it “3rd age” or “IKIGAI” – Japanese for pursuing passions or mission (this counts whatever your age!)
Serena Williams frames retirement as an evolution and shows that ending our career chapter doesn’t mean starting the next one from scratch. Her categorising an evolution, as opposed to retirement, is the difference between looking at it “this is an end, and it’s all downhill from here” or this end is the beginning of something new. I’m going to grow, I’m going to evolve, I’m going to change – Tarisha Ranger, Clinical Psychologist
It is not unusual for people to retire in their 50s whether by choice or not. Many people want to remain economically active. An often-neglected issue is that of ageism in the workplace; many people feel pushed or eased out before they are ready and legislation has not really changed this.
Whether people want to stay in some form of work or not University of Michigan School of Public Health indicated that stronger purpose in life was associated with decreased mortality. In this same study, individuals without a purpose were more than twice as likely to die earlier than those with a sense of purpose.
For those of us who can remember Maslow’s Theory, this is self-transcendence (sense of meaning, purpose) where future activities may be financially remunerative, but most are psychologically and purposefully rewarding.
In the book “how will you measure your life” Fredrick Herzberg asserts that the powerful motivator in our lives isn’t money; it’s the opportunity to learn, grow in responsibilities, contribute to others and be recognised for achievements.
The Modern Elder Academy (MEA) which draws on the work of William Bridges to explain transitions:-
- Personal – moving, empty nesting, divorce, strained relationships,
- Physical – changing hormones, diet, sensuality, physical or cognitive health
- Psychological – anxiety, fear, sadness, shame, loneliness, anger, depression
- Professional – losing job, redundancy, retiring, changing careers,
- Purpose – finding legacy, spiritual connections, new direction
Identifying and connecting with relatable role models, going into your transition with a growth mindset and experimenting by taking small steps, are effective approaches. Those closest to you may also be too close and think too fondly of you which is why it is important to have those external voices and role models to challenge you, your thinking and your actions or inactions.
What to do next is always an interesting project and may take some time to settle. I have a mix of work (not my career type work!), Samaritans and community work to keep me occupied and I call myself semi-retired now – what do you think you will want to be called? (It took me a few years to get to this stage!).
If you do decide to retire completely, then having clarity of purpose linked to this decision is even more important than what you actually do in your retirement. The clarity of purpose will sustain you through the transition of identity and changing relationships which could take you over 2 years.
From Work Life to New Life is certainly a good read and if you want me to be your external source, get in touch with me firstname.lastname@example.org