We go through certain stages in life: child, adolescence, young adult, adult, old age. Each stage comes with its own focus and transition between stages, a learning curve and change.
I work a lot with teenagers, acknowledged to be a whole transitional period in itself and widely discussed.
However I also support older members of families, parents and grandparents. Recently I have worked with a couple of newly retired clients who are creating and accepting a new identity for this phase of life. As part of some recent work we discussed that this cultural shift has impacted this generation also.
No longer can we retire, potter round the garden, bake and golf. Many people continue working in some format because financially and or emotionally stopping is not possible. Ending a career can mean the end of routine, identity, purpose, for some it means just that; the end. Some support their working children, grandparents are often supporting financially, emotionally and practically with childcare and support in the home. For some this is essentially full time work. If you are looking after many children or are single, you could be working harder and are essentially parenting second time round. As well as an expectation to live retired life to the fullest, have hobbies, support charities or volunteer, keep fit, look good, justify life choices etc. The potential to fail then becomes high.
But you do all of this without a clear label, you are ‘retired’, not a teacher or office manager but…. nothing. A label that is dismissed as not doing anything, except you don’t have time to do nothing. You also do it slighter stiffer and less able to run around all day.
“It must be lovely to be retired!”
“You must be loving it, so relaxing”
“Are you not bored?”
“What have you got to feel depressed about, this is the easy life?”
If ever there is a time to think about yourself and make choices, this is it. Think about talking, sharing and making sure you give your self time to adjust to this massive transition, self care becomes more important. Plan for it! Find a balance and a retirement that works for you.
Consider also the positives, this cultural shift also means old is older, 70 is the new 50. Older actors and celebrities are valued in their work, now old is not forgotten but becoming respected again and maybe even cool 😉