A question came to me from one of the blog readers about retirement. She asked, “How do I retire without guilt after a busy working life? I am having real trouble not working.”

Retirement as quoted in “removal or withdrawal from office, business, or active life, usually because of age or to fall back or retreat in an orderly fashion and according to plan, as from battle, an untenable position, danger, etc.”

When I consider how the concept of ‘retirement’ has been referred to, it has always been what ‘old’ people do. I’m not sure if it is my frame of mind that has shifted, or that as I approach the ‘age of retirement’ that I realize that people still have ‘so much to offer’. One thing that I do see consistently is that many people identify with their jobs (although they may not love them), they find they come to define themselves in relation to their work/job. We may retire from certain chapters of our lives’ but we do not retire from ‘our lives’.

I crashed into this thought pattern when I was 36 years old. I got the ‘hand shake’ from my corporate director’s job … a healthy settlement that I didn’t need to ‘rush into’ what was next. Although healthy, happy, and financially sorted, I was lost. I had thought that I had not defined myself by my work, and yet somehow I must have or I would not have been feeling so ‘worthless’. I felt like I was immersed into retirement prematurely, most of my counterparts were ‘busy’ with their jobs/work and I craved people to ‘connect with’. I started cruising the coffee shops, and meeting some interesting people who had ‘time on their hands’. What I came to discover is that we as a society tend to give so much of our life-force to our work and yet it often doesn’t feed us.

I was determined to find meaning inside of my days and ways, and began exploring. I took a radical turn out of corporate work, and found myself involved with energy work. This particular chapter taught me emphatically how important it was/is to be involved with learning, loving and living daily … and that the concept of retiring, being put out to pasture was not healthy for me.

We all need to contribute at whatever stage we are in life … the key is understanding when we ‘hit the wall’ of a new chapter, is that if we want to grow beyond our current situation, we understand ‘that everything that has gotten us to this point, is not what will get us to where we can imagine’. It is time to challenge the paradigm, ask yourself ‘what is it that I yearn for, and seek out ways to bring this to fruition’.

‘Creating a life that inspires you ‘takes deliberate focus and effort’, but you are worth it.

Life Coaching with Ruth
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  1. Retirement

    Interesting! i found myself at much the same spot around the age of 37… only I was rendered “worthless” by having a child and feeling lost in my identity, unable to “DO” anything apart from being a mother as it took all my time, I didn't like the title of “mother”. For some reason, to me that was not a worthy job. Yet I had just left a job that bored me to tears. Beyond tears really. Many other mothers I knew searched endlessly for worthy titles, so that they would feel worthy when people asked them what they did… or who they were.

    It is interesting now as people find less stability in their jobs, I wonder if the concept of retirement will change radically from that of our parents' generation where it was common to have one job your whole life and then retire.

  2. Retirement

    That looks like the life!! Great photo…

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