Retirement – is it the death of life?
Thoughts on making retirement positive
Well, operation catwalk is now in real competition with work so not much progress. The spin cycle has been worryingly demoted to the bottom of the to-do list. We are now well into September and I am back to work with a bang.
After a gentle August of operation catwalk and working on my beloved old boat it is back into the whirlwind of meetings, design, courses, discussions. Tomorrow is a conference on Body Language in the Boardroom for Women in Insurance and next week it is Dubai. All good, rewarding and exciting – but every morning I have a little twinge of envy for Annie – she of Annie Reviews – who after 30 gruelling years in the Education sector has hung up her chalk and retired. As I get up and check the day’s schedule to see what I haveto do, she has a cuppa and decides what she wants to do; as I reach for the only remaining clean dress in the wardrobe with a vow to get to the dry cleaners, she decides whether she will stay in her jammies for another hour. When I worry about my remaining dress being appropriate, she opens the wardrobe to choose anything she likes. Annie is free. Annie has choice.
But before we turn into a collective green eyed monster, maybe we should take a good look at stopping work. Put ‘Retirement and’ into Google and the top search term lists as Retirement and Depression with over 43 million hits. As a psychologist I am not so surprised – work gives us routine, purpose, a circle of colleagues (sometimes friends), security of income, brain food and education. Take that away and too many people have nothing. Days stretch into an eternity of day time TV, gardening and tidying those cupboards which have annoyed you for years. But what happens when the cupboards are clean? What happens when you have nothing important to do? What happens when you have not talked to anyone for two days except to shout at the TV and call the cat in?
Back in 2013, research by the Institute of Economic Affairs indicated that the chances of clinical depression went up by 40% and illness by 60% after retirement. Now admittedly, there is an age factor in this trend, but does age alone increase your depression potential that much? I say no. More likely because you move so quickly from a full life to feeling as if there is no life.
So what do women need to do? If you are sensible like Annie then you will have a year’s schedule of projects, travel and goals all ready to go. She is not starting small – Oh, no. First trip is top to toe of Thailand in 15 days. Key to her psychology is seeing retirement as the next phase not the end game. Retirement is a huge opportunity of time to spend on your dreams. Maybe this is the time for a new career. If so, take time to read Pat Duckworth’s Hot Women Rock reviewed in our inspiration section. For more inspiration look at the Forbes article and links on how women can reinvent their careers after 50 and the very sensible advice from Monster on career change after 50.
Don’t tell the clients – but in researching for this blog I began to get ambitious for phase two!
More next week….