Is retirement an eternal holiday?

In recent weeks I have been really battling with the term ‘Retirement’.  When I think of myself as retired I do not equate it with old age.  Yet when I was fortunate the other day to have a session with a brand coach, she showed me how I do subconsciously equate retirement with old age.  She did an interesting exercise that caught me off guard…

She simply asked me if I had thought about moving into a retirement village.  I said yes, but I wouldn’t consider moving before I reached my 70’s.  She then asked me why I was waiting till then and of course I told her that I was not yet frail or elderly.  Do you see the subtle link between the word retirement and frail and elderly?

The word retirement was first used in the context of stopping work.  It was Otto von Bismarck, leader of Prussia who first encouraged his older soldiers to leave his work force on a pension, because he needed to make way for younger soldiers!  But the difference between now and then is that the Prussian soldiers lived on average two years, and we could live another 30 to 40 years!

Is it this connection with old age, frailty, approaching the end, that makes people ‘play ostrich’ when it comes to preparing for retirement?  Or is it simply that people do not think the transition to retirement is major, because after all you are going on ‘eternal holiday’?  Despite the odds of longevity, the sudden loss of a sense of purpose and meaning which occurs when we leave work, people still spend less time than they would on their plans for a holiday abroad.  I am not talking about the financial side of retirement here, most people spend hours with their financial advisor.  Yet many don’t think further than the anticipation of getting up in their own time each day, not harassed by alarm clocks, peak traffic and deadlines.  And of course being boss over your own time!

But reality is, that the wonderful sense of eternal holiday wears off and eventually turns to boredom, lack of meaning and relevance, and eventually a sense of ‘what is there to get up for?’   At least at work you were needed, an essential cog who was missed when absent.   But without some structure in your life, retirement days can drift without you feeling needed, essential or relevant.

That is why the brand coach suggested I call myself a ’new horizons’ coach.  What I do is help you see the new vistas or horizons that open when you move towards retirement.  In my coaching we look at what holds you back, core strengths that help you move forward and then we explore the opportunities already in front of you.

If this resonates with you please contact me for a free, no-obligation session to see if you could benefit from a series of coaching sessions.  Coaching is NOT counselling – it is an opportunity to lay your cards on the table, get some objective feedback and have someone that holds you accountable for getting things moving.

Looking forward to hearing from you,