Man wonders about finding fulfillment after he retires
By Abigail Van Buren 4 days ago
I have had a wonderful and fulfilling career, and a life with a few hard bumps along the road. My wife and I enjoy spending time together as empty nesters.
For the past 16 years, I have built and led several not-for-profit organizations. After the last experience ended, we relocated, and I now have a less-demanding job I hope will take me into my retirement.
I enjoy the position, but how do I prepare for a rewarding and fulfilling life once I’m no longer fully employed? My wife and I plan to winter in Florida, do some traveling and enjoy life. I have some hobbies I look forward to spending time on, but I’m hoping for more than just that. Looking back, I wonder if I may have devoted too much to my career.
I guess I’m having trouble letting go of the wheel, the pace and the high expectations I have lived by all my adult life. Have you any suggestions to help me prepare for the next chapter? I will continue to help others and volunteer, but I need some guidance.
Trouble Letting Go in Pennsylvania
Before retiring, make sure you are really ready to take that next step and discuss with your wife what that will mean to both of you. Between helping others, volunteering, traveling and splitting the year between two different communities, I suspect you will be plenty busy.
Now that you will have the time, use some of it to see your children and grandchildren, if there are any. Remember, too, the importance of staying physically as well as mentally active, and perhaps consider mentoring someone if the opportunity presents itself.
It can be quite difficult for parents to adjust to a new home and family dynamic after all their kids have moved out. You may start to feel anxious, down or restless, but it’s important to realize that along with this big change come many possibilities. Rather than an end, this time in your life should be a wonderful new beginning.Take this time to reconnect with yourself as well as others. Pick an old hobby back up or explore something new that you’ve always meant to try. Make time to do the things you want to do without any disruption, and go the places you want to go without having to worry about others. Having an empty nest isn’t a bad thing; it simply means that it’s time for you to spread your wings too.
My wonderful 82-years-young father-in-law and mother-in-law still exercise regularly, and it shows. They are both beautiful and healthy. I was particularly impressed when my father-in-law recently informed me that, on a daily basis, he “practices” getting up from a fall by lying down on the floor and then getting up without using his hands. He said he repeats the process several times a day because it keeps his core strong. I think it’s brilliant. Perhaps other seniors reading this will incorporate this practice into their daily routine if they are able to.
Blessed Daughter-in-Law in California
I’m glad you shared what your in-laws are doing in order to remain healthy. Anyone who hasn’t tried lying on the floor and getting up without using their hands may be in for a surprise the first time they try. It isn’t as easy as it sounds. The “trick” is to roll onto your knees and lift yourself one leg at a time without touching your thighs. I tried it, and I can do it — but it took some practice. I encourage people of all ages to try.
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