Transitioning to Retirement

My old workplace

My old workplace

I will be facilitating  a course through the local branch of the University of the Third Age starting in February. The topic of my six-week course (2 hours a week) is Transitioning to Retirement.

I am fascinated with this topic following my own experience in adapting to life post full-time employment (at age 55). When I was working I used to see people in cafes as I rushed past them on my way to the office. I really envied others’ freedom to enjoy a coffee and to read the paper during the morning rush hour. I knew I wanted to do that one day!

That was about the extent of my retirement planning!

Since then I have tried out seven different voluntary roles, five different paid jobs (including casual positions), explored self-employment,  studied professional, creative, and feature writing. I also studied philosophy and dabbled in a few other things as well.

My research recently led me to a book by Nancy K. Schlossberg called Revitalizing Retirement: Reshaping Your Identity, Relationships, and Purpose, published by the American Psychological Association. It is an interesting read!

Nancy talks about having a Psychological Portfolio for retirement made up of IDENTITY, RELATIONSHIPS AND PURPOSE. She suggests that we need to address each of these areas to make the most of the retirement years.

Having moved location at the same time as leaving my long-term career means I have work to do on all three of these areas. I am hoping that my experience and research may help others who are in a similar situation.

Now I think I will have a coffee and read the paper and watch all those workers scurrying to and fro!

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Being ‘in the flow’

I recently discovered an interesting book titled Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. It was first published in 1990 by Harper and Row.

Here is a description of the book I copied from Amazon.com (where I purchased the book).

Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s famous investigations of “optimal experience” have revealed that what makes an experience genuinely satisfying is a state of consciousness called flow. During flow, people typically experience deep enjoyment, creativity, and a total involvement with life. In this new edition of his groundbreaking classic work, Csikszentmihalyi demonstrates the ways this positive state can be controlled, not just left to chance. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience teaches how, by ordering the information that enters our consciousness, we can discover true happiness and greatly improve the quality of our lives.

I am finding it easy to read and a refreshing change from much of the (wonderful) literature about mindfulness. Sometimes words like mindfulness become so over used that they lose their sense of meaning. The writer talks about giving our attention to whatever is before us.

Although I haven’t finished reading it yet, I feel comfortable in recommending it to readers interested in experiencing more flow in their day-to-day lives.003 (Copy)

It sounds like I was paid to review this book, but I promise I haven’t! It was just a link in an article I was reading online and before I knew what I was doing, I ordered a kindle edition as well as a hard copy 🙂

Health …

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I am thinking about ‘health’ for the past week. Not that I am sick or have any big revelations about it, but I am considering how we deal with whatever our health status is.

Some people make a big deal out of minor ailments and yet some others are silent and brave about serious concerns.

I believe that as we get older, the health system responds to us differently. This is when the doctor responds to your concerns with, “it is normal for that to happen at your age.” They don’t seem quite as enthusiastic about fixing us up as we get older.

Another aspect about health – do we talk about it? When is it appropriate and when is it not?

Should we be proactive and do our own research (via Dr Google) or trust in the knowledge and experience of our health care professionals – or a bit of both?

Then there is the scientific approach to health or the alternative therapies. I lean very much toward the medical model – maybe because Medicare will subsidize me if I see a doctor but I pay the full cost if I see someone who practices natural therapies.

What part does our mind play in our health? I am sure it plays a significant role but can we think ourselves better? I know we can think ourselves sick!

So there you have it – a week’s reflection on health, summed up in less than 300 words 🙂

Seeking a simple life …

When  it comes to what is important in life, I think the less complicated we make it, the better.

Family, friends and good neighbours contribute to many of the simple joys we experience.

Sunshine and access to nature are important too.

No games of pretense to confuse our relationships with those around us – be who you really are!

Maximise your strengths and curb your weaknesses where you can.

We all have something positive to offer in every situation – it may be just to listen …

simplicity

Ideas, dreams and regrets

For some time now I have been thinking about taking some sort of action in relation to raising awareness about the ageing of Baby Boomers and the need for attitudes (in general) to change. We can look at the ageing population as a burden on the government/community or we can look more positively at this cohort of people and somehow leverage off their knowledge, skills, experience and understanding for the betterment of our society.

I started by setting up a website at http://www.encoreaustralia.wordpress.com but I ran out of momentum (for now at least). I would love to have a brainstorming session with a small group of people who share my thoughts on this topic but I don’t really know where to start. I have looked at goals, project plans, research, values etc. I have also researched other websites throughout the internet (there are lots on this topic).

I am unsure what I want to achieve so I guess this is hampering my progress. I think best when I am among a group of people of similar minds. I may have to resort to a brainstorming session between me and my whiteboard!

Any ideas to get me kick started? I would really appreciate any feedback.

about age

 

 

Any cheese – I mean mobiles?

I want to upgrade my mobile phone. Now that doesn’t sound complicated, does it? I have a pre-paid phone but I am looking at changing over to a contract. I went to the Telstra Store and was approached soon after arriving. He only wanted my name though and told me I was second in the queue. I decided to browse my options and selected three phones that I wanted more information about. I browsed for about ten minutes.

At last I was introduced to a salesperson. I said I was interested in the Nexus – she checked and said they didn’t have any as they were not very popular. OK, I moved on to the Samsung Galaxy 4 Mini – again she said they didn’t have any as they were now outdated with the Galaxy 5 being available. Righto – next I asked about the Nokia – and, you guessed it, they didn’t have any of these either. She went to check on the computer to see if any other Telstra Stores had them. I said, ‘Thanks, but don’t worry as I will go home and order one online!’

I also asked about my pre-paid credit disappearing and if she could check it out for me please. She advised me to ring the Pre-paid Mobile number but assured me I wasn’t alone as a lot of people had complained about losing their credit for unknown reasons!

Confidence

Life seems so much easier when we feel confident about what we are doing. Confidence doesn’t guarantee competence but it is a good start. Here are some thoughts about confidence …

C is for capable. I have the basic knowledge to do the task at hand.

O is for often. When I do something often I generally become more confident in my ability.

N is now. I will focus on the task at hand, now, and not try to do tomorrow’s work today.

F is for follow. It may mean following a recipe, some guidance, a style manual, or the instructions in a manual.

I is for interest. If I have a genuine interest in what I am doing, my interest will help me feel more confident.

D is for determination. If I aspire to do well – chances are, I will succeed if I am determined enough.

E is for elements. If I understand the basic elements of the task, I can then tackle them one by one until the task is completed.

N is for new. I am always be open to learning something new. It is ok to acknowledge I haven’t done something before, however, I am willing to learn new things  – in fact, I love to learn how to do new things!

C is for cheerful. If I can approach whatever I am doing with a cheerful attitude, my chances of success are greater.

E is for effort. I need to put in some effort and do the work that is required to the best of my ability.

Put all these together and you cannot help but have the CONFIDENCE to do whatever you need to do.

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Five ways to overcome the feeling of being overwhelmed

Cosy wood heater

Cosy wood heater

Here are some things that work for me when I feel overwhelmed …

1. Close your eyes and listen … try to hear sounds nearby and then further and further away. Focus on listening without judgement.

2. Stop what you are doing and focus on a small task – something that you can make a start on immediately. Decide to focus on that task only for a short period of time. It could be for five minutes, an hour or a day.

3. Keep breathing. If you are in a public situation and feel overwhelmed, just breathe as normally as possible, say little, smile occasionally and keep doing what you are doing. No one will ever know the inner turmoil you may be experiencing and maybe they don’t need to know.

4. If practical, get outdoors in the garden, beach, parkland etc. Being outside in the fresh air can do wonders for the spirit.

5. Allow yourself a ten minute nap (might be a bit hard if you are at work). Sometimes time out helps improve clarity and perspective. Keep it to a short nap though as you don’t want to indulge negative emotions that may arise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who wants to be a housewife?

There isn’t much talk today about being a housewife. In fact, it is often seen to be an offensive label. How can anyone be a wife of a house, after all? There are attempts to change the image to names such as domestic goddess or similar. Is it what we do when we are not in the paid workforce?

But really … most of us live in houses and most of us like them to be clean and livable. Someone has to do the work, and fair enough if it is shared among the family. We want clean bathrooms, washing done, floors swept and the cupboards stocked with food and supplies.

Why is it that I don’t mind doing domestic tasks for someone else but would rather not do them for myself sometimes. Then there is that regular question – what do you do for a living? I can respond with information about the one day I go out to work and skip the details for the other six days of the week.

Scaling back from full-time work has raised these issues with me, surprisingly in a similar way to when I first left the workforce to start a family. There seems to be some fear that being out of the workforce may cause me to disappear into thin air – to stop existing in a way that is recognised in our culture.

I believe our culture needs to value this role more and recognise the contributions, big and small, of people who are not in mainstream, paid work.

What do you think?

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Poverty of Spirit

When I look at the conflict in the world I despair about our future.

I think the quote below sums it up very well. I include myself in this. I really do value the opportunity to connect with other bloggers in the international community. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our politicians  could do as much?

Martin Luther King Jr