As you read this I am on my annual fishing trip to the George River. I’ve been working hard over the summer and I can’t believe how fast this one has gone by. The weather has not been great with all that rain we had this year in the Toronto area. While I will miss the Contessa I need time away from the computer to recharge. I will post a full report of my trip when I return. The “George” holds a special place in my heart and I will share with you how I discovered it’s healing powers. I hope everyone has their own special place, the place you can go to think, rejuvenate and recharge your soul. This week I would like to talk about dealing with retirement shock.
Recently a reader reached out to me and asked if I could do some articles on coping with retirement shock and how to find purpose and passion in Victory Lap. For those of you that don’t know I’ve been hard at work on a Victory Lap transition guide that deals with those exact issues but unfortunately it will not be ready for release until early 2018.
Dealing with retirement shock and trying to figure out what to do with the rest of your life is one of the biggest challenges you will ever face. If you approach it properly and do it right, life can turn out really well, I am speaking from my own experience.
I will be doing some articles on the subject when I return but until then here are some general guidelines I have developed.
Rule # 1
Do not make any major decisions or purchases within the first six months of leaving your primary career. You will experience some level of retirement shock and will not be thinking straight, this is when bad and potentially expensive decisions are made. One story we heard was the person that got a package from his employer and decided to sell their home and move to their cottage, they didn’t last the first winter.
I wish someone had given me this advice as I made a slightly less expensive bad decision, by buying a top of the line hot tub. In theory it was a good idea a little present to myself after working all those years at the bank. In practice when I look back now I can count the number of times I have used the tub on one hand. Add to that the need for regular maintenance and the dollars keep rolling up on this decision. On a positive note I do use the radio whenever the Contessa and I sit outside, making it one of the most expensive outdoor radios a person can buy. I feel silly every time I look at it sitting there.
But wait there is more. Did I tell you about the boat I bought that was too big for my garage? I won’t get into that one right now, the hot tub is enough of my dirty laundry for one blog. Please learn from my mistakes!
Rule # 2
Don’t pigeon hole yourself and believe that because you have been working in one industry or job all your life that you can not do anything else. I left my first career in the banking industry because I wanted less stress, I was burned out and needed a change. So why did I immediately get a job with another bank? Because that was the easiest thing for me to do, while I knew I was tired of working for a bank I also knew I was comfortable in a banking environment. I felt safe and maybe I could show my old employer they made a mistake. Making the change was exciting at first, however as time went on I realized that nothing was really different other than the name on the building. The things I did not like at one bank, were pretty much the same at the new bank. I have learned in my Victory Lap that we are capable of so much more. Many of us haven’t used these “muscles” in such a long time we have forgotten how capable we are to learn, adapt and thrive. We are all starting from a different place in our VL journey, just be patient and wait for the right fit.
Rule # 3
Don’t sit back and feel sorry for yourself. Take some time to acknowledge what has happened to you, if you were de-hired it still might sting and that is ok. But feeling sorry for yourself is not helping, it’s boring and counter productive. If you are having trouble getting past it call on your support network or seek professional help. It is okay to have a variety of feelings good and bad, but to dwell on negative feelings is not helping you live a great Victory Lap.
A big part of the anxiety you feel when you leave work is that you have lost structure in your day, when you work you have a routine. Now you have a blank page every morning. The first thing you need to do is get moving, get out and take a walk, go to the gym, get to the pool, or ride a bike. For many of us time at work held us back from a lot of things, no excuses now, get moving. You might feel like a zombie at first but you will discover that the mind clears when the blood flows. Don’t isolate yourself, get out, join new groups, try new activities, take a class and when you start feeling alive again, it will be time to figure out what to do with the rest of your life.
Don’t hang around negative people, look for people who bring you joy. Don’t hang out with your old work buddies and listen to complaints about your old job and old bosses. Leave this world behind you it will delay your recovery and it is such a downer.
Your road to recovery will be different from everyone else even if you have planned. You are still going through a major transition, but take your time and embrace all that lies ahead.
Finally, follow us on twitter @VictoryLapRetir where we will share blogs, articles and information to help you live a wonderful Victory Lap.