Being on social media more and more these days, I see what retired people and soon to be retired people are worrying about.
Many of them are concerned with money – will I/we have enough? how do I/we plan to have enough? I/we don’t have enough, should I take Social Security now or wait? how do I keep my retirement safe? – all very important questions. Responses to these posts vary – and although some of the advice sounds good, the best thing, in my opinion, is to speak to a professional. The cost might be a bit high, but if it keeps your money safe and helps you plan, it is well worth it. It will give you peace of mind
Another issue that surfaces is what to do with all the “free” time they now face since they are not working…and even more so now, in this current environment of being safe at home. A few have said that they don’t want to travel or can’t afford to. Others are a bit isolated because work was everything to them, so they didn’t have much family or friend interaction…and they are hesitant to reach out to them now. Some are bored and thinking about going back to work or finding some other kind of job but don’t know how to get started with that. One person stated that they can’t get themselves motivated into searching tor things to do such as joining a book club, a bowling team, volunteering or mentoring young people. And that brings us to another group of people.
Depressed, sad, lonely and grieving. All very human and very real to say the least. And all very familiar to all of us in one way or another. I clearly remember certain periods in my life where I felt unable to function. Death of parents and other beloved relatives, work reverses, romantic heartbreaks all played key roles in keeping me in a state of loss and that loss needed to be grieved and worked through which took time and effort.
Health is also mentioned – an issue that we all face daily. Some are just beginning this journey of aches and pains; some have been living with it for years if not decades. It can indeed be debilitating, incapacitating and hampering – our mind and our will wants to take that walk, wants to work in the garden, go shopping, go to the moves, etc. but our bodies prevent us from doing so. We keep all these people in mind and pray for their wellness.
Not everyone retires with a big fat check book or a spouse to share it with. Not everyone feels like going to the grocery store, much less to a Canasta card group. Not everyone has the health to live an active life. Those pictures we see in magazines, on tv and online of couples dancing the night away on a cruise ship or resort veranda are not very realistic, as enticing as they may be. Not all of us can afford the trip, can’t physically go on the trip, don’t want to go on the trip. We come in all sizes, shapes and wallets.
Both Zaf and I are slowing down. We feel it every day…long days of work are especially tiring, and we hit the couch early, right after dinner to relax. Not just the body but the mind – letting go of the day’s issues, not thinking about tomorrow’s issues and simply just not talking about them to each other as we watch tv!
Key for me is to embrace this new slowness. To nurture myself as often as I can. To set boundaries as to what I can/will and what I can’t/will do. We do have a full year ahead of us to get to retirement, so we are saving our energy for the big push later this year. In the meantime, we continue to explore what might be right for us – where we will live next, what travel plans would be financially feasible as well as physically realistic, what activities might be right for us, etc.
As the sun sets each day, we are grateful for what we have at hand. And we keep the faith that all will work out, as it often does in its own way.
We are on it!
A sunset from The Personal Collection of Helene and Zaf
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