Zero In On Starting Over Again
We’ve reached the last installment of the A to Z of a Rockin’ Retirement. Z = ZERO IN ON STARTING OVER. What do I mean by that? You are in the zone of change and new beginnings are on the way whether you want them or not!
Now that I have passed the point of no return and entered the so-called Retirement Zone, I know a lot more about how to adjust to creating a new life for myself. But let me back up to where you are and provide you with a cautionary tale. It ain’t as easy as you think!
I wish I had remembered to review what I already knew about “Managing Transitions” from the work I did as a hospital educator when we were merging one clinic with one hospital and created a large tri-state medical conglomerate. At the time, our department was tasked with training employees on how to handle change because it was going to become very unsettling, disheartening, stressful and scary. And so we embarked on many training sessions over many months and even tho it was a difficult time, and some still hang on to the memories of the “good old days” (I do too!) life went on.
So why do I bring this up? Because when you transition out of the workforce and nursing, it is more difficult for some people than you realize. Oh sure. You might be one of the lucky ones who has a new life already carved out for yourself and you can’t wait to get started.
But many of you haven’t really given it a thought (probably too busy to think about it) until it hits you one day that your time is running out and you haven’t got a plan. Well that is where this great information I used in the past can come in very handy, and I want to share some of the tips that stand out for me to help you.
What I really love about this information is that author William Bridges of Managing Transitions prepares you with the three phases you will go thru and how to cope with them.
Phase I - Endings
This first phase of transition begins when people identify what they are losing and learn how to manage these losses. They determine what is over and being left behind, and what they will keep. These may include relationships, processes, team members or locations.
For me, daily relationships I had cultivated over many years were ending. They were my work “family” and I still miss seeing them every day. And even tho I still stay in contact with them, it is only infrequently, so it is a real loss for me. In addition, not having a place to go everyday to connect with people and feel a sense of purpose caused me to feel lost without an anchor.
I lost my team as well whom I relied on for varying points of view and support with my programs. And finally, once I started my new solo-wellness business I had to replace all the services I had come to rely on like a marketing department, copy center, business supplies, etc. The act of “letting go” was challenging.
What losses will you regret when you retire?
Phase 2: Neutral Zone
People go through an “uncomfortable” in-between time when the old is gone – and so is your identity - but the new isn’t fully operational. It’s a time for processing what your future could be like. I did several things to bridge the gap. I looked for part-time work (because I knew I couldn’t just sit around with nothing to do) but felt discrimination because I had grey hair. Yes, age discrimination is alive and well! I was open to possibilities to expand my training into areas I didn’t know existed, like wellness coaching, and found an avenue to get certified which led to an opportunity to coach employees of a fortune 100 company.
That led to another connection with a reputable company I could align with that provided me with a business model, training, coaching and wellness programming I could use to create my own wellness business. So in this neutral zone I found many opportunities to play with until something felt right and I was on my way again.
- What ideas have you been playing with that could be new directions for you in your retirement?
- Who are resource people you can talk to about new possibilities for yourself?
- Who do you know who is already retired and can you pick their brain about what their experience was?
Phase 3 – New Beginnings
New beginnings are marked by a release of energy in a new direction – they are an expression of a fresh identity, new understandings, new values, new attitudes.
I will admit that my energy was low after I left my job, I felt a sense of depression and I was not excited about what could be next. In fact I didn’t even have a clue about what could be next. But once I received some great coaching from a fellow nurse coach and got a foothold in something tied to my passion (wellness) that was new and exciting, I felt like I was starting all over again with new interest, energy and meaning. I still feel like I’m in a starting-over phase. It’s not only challenging but makes me feel a lot younger than I am. A very cool and unexpected side effect!
- How do you see yourself once you are retired?
- What do you see yourself doing that brings you energy and joy?
- What will you be doing that will leave your mark on the world?
So thanks for joining me on this pre-retirement journey of blogs. Hopefully it has been useful and has provided you with insights and tools to make the transition easier, more hopeful and filled with anticipation. Looking forward to blogging with you again! Please share your thoughts.