A Time of Reinvention

“There is a fountain of youth: it is in your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will have truly defeated age.” ~ Sophia Loren

When people talk about retirement, they often think of financial issues. But psychologist Nancy Schlossberg likes to get people to think of retirement as a career change because not only are you leaving something, you are about to begin something new. Dr. Schlossberg found many factors that contribute to helping people negotiate retirement transitions. In her research, she identified six ways in which adults approached retirement:

  • Continuers who continue using existing skills and interests.
  • Adventurers who start entirely new endeavors.
  • Searchers who explore new options through trial and error.
  • Easy Gliders who enjoy unscheduled time letting each day unfold.
  • Involved Spectators who care deeply about the world, but engage in less active ways.
  • Retreaters who take time out or disengage from life.

What I find interesting in similar studies and surveys is the alignment of a specific age (or ages) with traditional retirement. Yet aging does not always equal retiring. Aging does not mean people drift quietly off to the sidelines while younger generations take over. Some Baby Boomers may want or need to work less, or to have more flexible working arrangements, but don’t many of us need that at different life stages?

For your consideration, additional findings specific to reinventing one’s self:

  • Instead of slowing down, 57% of Baby Boomers view retirement as a time of new beginnings. 51% indicated that they want to launch a whole new career when they retire. As a Professional Coach (and boomer), I find that percentage encouraging!
  • Although preretirees said having a reliable income stream is what they would miss about ‘working,’ retirees reported that lost social connections associated with work were what they missed most.
  • Nearly half (45%) of the boomers surveyed said they needed help deciding on the best place to live in retirement and 40% needed help finding housing or eldercare arrangements for their parents.

When you find yourself planning for or entering retirement reinvention, here are three tips:

  1. Let go. Make the decision to let go of what’s not working in your life. Identify your biggest stressors and issues that are preventing your from living a significant and fulfilling “Third Act.” Leave the agonizing to the 30 years olds and make a move. Trust your intuition, turn up the volume to your passions, and listen to what is speaking to you.
  2. Take small steps. If you’re thinking about making a huge change, especially a risky one, you may want to start off slowly. If it’s going to take a toll on your wallet, don’t take it lightly. Consider doing little things that scare you, accomplish them, and then develop a belief that you can do bigger things. There are many introductory ways to get a taste of something.
  3. Remember you’re in great company. At age 30, Julia Child was a government spy and Andrea Bocelli was a lawyer. Enjoy a list of famous people in the ‘wrong’ jobs earlier in their lives here.

10 thoughts on “A Time of Reinvention

  1. Eric, I discovered your blog at a time when it feels like every word speaks to where I am in my life at this moment: mid-life career change, finding my bliss, building courage, staying true and authentic to who I am, adjusting into my husband’s retirement (he’s an Easy Glider – love it)!. I could go on and on. Thank you for your blog.

    • Vivian, how nice of you to stop by and share. I’m sensing you are employing practical and comfortable strategies to adapting and changing – both for yourself and into your husband’s retirement. Thank you for advising that the post ‘speaks to you.’ This inspires me to write on. 🙂

  2. Eric, I love the six definitions of approaching retirement. So insightful. I think the important thing here is not to begin to evaluate these definitions and make judgements concerning them. They are simply what people are and where they want to be. I found the stats pretty interesting as well.

    • A fan of keeping things simple and accepting them for what they are, I concur with you. Analyzing or over-defining can dilute the beauty and significance of these findings. Glad we both found the stats interesting. I’ll endeavor not to bury you with my data trove.

  3. Definitely interested in your blog. I retired about 2 years ago, I just turned 50 and was having trouble accepting that fact. Having to retire rather suddenly due to a disability I am still trying to adjust to the change. I look forward to learning from you.

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