New Year’s resolutions – they’re the annual ritual of racking your brain to come up with the perfect, attainable goal that will make you a better person. They also represent the annual cycle of contemplation, excitement, early success and often, failure.
Over the years I’ve struggled to come up with a “good” resolution – one that I’ll stick with after the early part of January when I’m tired of the overcrowded gym and avoiding desserts. Like most people, I have given up on almost every New Year’s resolution that I made, until this year. (more…)
Earlier this summer, Anthony Bourdain passed away. His passing was marked by a remarkable outpouring of grief, not just from people who knew him, but from his fans as well. This grief felt more widespread than when we’ve lost other public figures. Perhaps his cause of death was part of this, but I have a feeling it wasn’t just Bourdain’s death itself, but something more that made this loss so deep. Bourdain was an example to many of us of what it means to live a full life. He was an inspiration or, perhaps, an aspiration, to all kinds of people across the world. (more…)
The stereotypical vision of retiring includes gold watches, sun filled landscapes in foreign lands, vacation homes, and lots of smiling faces. We hold on to this vision to get us through the long road of a lifetime of work. A comfortable retirement is our motivation, and ultimately a reward for a job well done. For a few the transition to retirement is wonderful as they waltz into their retirement years with ease. In my observations over the past 25 years, I believe these lucky individuals are the exception, not the rule.
For most the transition to retirement is a very difficult time of their life. The distress that many new retirees feel is not widely acknowledged or discussed. For a life transition that is supposed to be joyous, new retirees often feel uneasy, fearful, and overwhelmed. Many feel like a rudderless ship. Issues surrounding self-worth, mortality, and lack of control can make a person feel anxious or even depressed. Spousal dynamics often change with the new schedule and routine and can be another source of stress, adding to the confusing mix of emotions that are part of this difficult transition.
Some things that I have seen help make the retirement transition easier are to acknowledge and understand that this transition is going to be another one of life’s challenges, and to prepare yourself for a full range of emotions. It’s perfectly normal to feel uneasiness for no particular reason.
Celebrate! Employers rarely throw a party for retirees anymore as most of us ultimately quit our jobs, or are downsized. Even if you retired some time ago, throw your own party or event to let you and others appreciate your accomplishment.
Communication is very important as you navigate the many emotions you will feel. Talk to your spouse, family, and friends openly about how you are feeling and you might find comfort in the fact that many feel the same as you do. Professional counseling can be very helpful.
Most importantly, ease into retirement. Many retirees feel out of control and rush to “take control” and end up making poor decisions about finances, housing or personal relationships when they should be taking a year of “vacation” to let the rhythms and patterns of your retirement life form. Give yourself a relaxed existence as you deal with the wide range of emotions that come with this difficult transition.
Last Sunday, an interview of Nora Ephron appeared in the New York Times. I’m a big fan of hers because she’s overcome many personal and professional challenges throughout her life. And although most of us will never be nominated for an Academy Award, we all have challenges to face and overcome.
Ephron is perhaps most famous for winning three Academy Awards nominations for Best Screenplay: “When Harry Met Sally,” “Sleepless in Seattle”and “Silkwood.”
She’s also a film director and the author of several books. Her most recent book, “I Remember Nothing,” is No. 7 on the New York Times non-fiction best-seller list and trending upward. (more…)
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