Retirement: Existential Crisis or a Unique Personal Opportunity?

The champagne’s been popped, the goodbyes have been said, and you’ve officially hung up your work hat. The moment of retirement has finally arrived and an exhilarating vista of freedom stretches out in front of you!

But hold up, what’s that weird, uneasy feeling creeping in… a disconcerting vibe that seems to revolve around a handful of pressing questions:  What now? Who am I outside the professional box I’ve inhabited for so long?  What exactly am I going to DO with all this time? 

And suddenly, wham, instead of feeling free, relaxed, and optimistic, you feel lost, aimless, and stressed!  But fear not – although it may have the hallmarks of an existential crisis, it’s actually something far less unsettling and far more promising: it‘s a unique, personal opportunity.

Time for some experimental adventures!

It’s a unique opportunity to define yourself anew:

  • To think about what you want to do, be, and have
  • To respond to the inner callings that beckon you
  • To define and shape the future you wish to create
  • To experience change, growth, and reinvention

Your head’s brimming with ideas and your heart’s overflowing with dreams and a new chapter beckons! Now is your chance to shed the “shoulds” and embrace the “coulds” and the “what ifs” and step into the glorious unknown – a place ripe for exploration!

Think about it: you have the time, the (hopefully) financial security, and most importantly, the freedom to experiment. and indulge in the experimental joy that retirement offers!

No more squeezing hobbies into spare moments or daydreaming about adventures that have been put on hold. 

Retirement is your very own ‘permission slip’ to follow your curiosity:

  • Dust off a passion you were unable to pursue while working full-time. Remember that pottery class you always wanted to take? The travel blog you dreamt of starting? Now’s your chance! 
  • Embrace the “never too late” mentality: Learning a new language? Mastering the piano (…finally!)? Don’t let age hold you back. Your brain is still a magnificent learning machine, so feed it new experiences!
  • Step outside your comfort zone: Join a hiking group, sign up for that improv class, or volunteer for a cause you care about. The world is full of surprises waiting for the curious soul.
  • Embrace the power of “yes”: Say yes to invitations you might have declined before. Say yes to spontaneity. Say yes to the unexpected detours that life throws your way.
  • Use your workplace skills in a new way – try mentoring, or maybe give serious attention to the online business idea that’s been quietly incubating in your head.

Time to turn the "what now?" into "what next?"

Ditch the pressure to get it “right” the first time. Embrace the stumbles and the unexpected detours – they might well be the stepping stones to something very special.

Think of these ‘experimental adventures’ like an Artist’s Date – a concept popularised by creativity guru Julia Cameron. An Artist’s Date is simply regular time dedicated to nurturing your creativity, free from judgment or pressure. Maybe it’s a solo trip to the cinema (an ‘Artist’s Date that became a regular personal favourite of mine!), a silversmithing class you’ve always been curious about, or simply trying a new recipe. The point is to follow your curiosity and let your playful spirit roam free. 

Entering retirement can feel like you’ve been plunged into uncharted waters. But what may seem like a crisis is simply an invitation to surf the waves of change. So, explore new opportunities and create a chapter in your life story that’s just as amazing, if not more so, than those that came before.  

Are You Retirement Ready? (..and we're not talking money!)

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Dreaming of retirement freedom, but feeling stuck in the planning stage?

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This checklist, based on my Six P’s Retirement Framework, will help you build a rock-solid foundation for a happy, healthy, and fulfilling retirement:

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