End of year good time to take stock
Here it is, nearly 2016, and if you're a Baby Boomer (born between 1946 and 1964), you might be thinking about joining the ranks of retirees in the new year. You'd have plenty of company: about 10,000 Baby Boomers retire every day.
Your retirement is a decision that should not be made lightly, but unfortunately, if your job has been eliminated, you might need to make the choice quickly. When outplacing Baby Boomers, I find they often want to segue into retirement by working in a less stressful job, by working part-time, or by doing some consulting. Figuring out those next steps can be stressful, especially when you need to decide unexpectedly.
Regardless of your age, year-end is an ideal time to take stock of where you are now and to envision the future you want to create for yourself, including your retirement.
Collier Township-based psychotherapist Carmen Accetta works with people to plan “the second half” of their lives, with the goal of turning challenges into opportunities for transforming their lives. Accetta considers the second half of life to be the time when important shifts become necessary, such as from “doing” to “being,” from “competition” to “cooperation,” and from “acquisition” to “letting go.” If you've been thinking less about being happy and more about having meaning in your life, you are in this camp. Another sign of knowing you are shifting into this second half of life, Accetta says, is that “you become vaguely dissatisfied, and people or activities you used to enjoy no longer hold interest.”
We all know people who have retired then found themselves drifting around the house looking for something useful to do, or trying to find meaning in playing golf. We also know people who are stuck in career paths they abhor, but are afraid to step out of their ruts. No matter what your age, the challenge is to figure out what it is that will wholeheartedly engage you.
I'll admit I'm fascinated by this subject because I'm in that second half of life and manifesting all the classic signs of it. I redid my entire garden this year, turning it from a mish-mash of miscellaneous plants into an area of delightful charm and beauty. I started a second consulting business devoted to helping college grads launch their careers. I coordinated my high school reunion in July, and am in the process of starting a job-transition ministry at my church. No moss growing here.
My “second-half-of-life” clients have gone through transitions, too. One who worked in academia her entire career is now setting her sights on a job in advocacy in a field where she passionately volunteered for many years. Another client who had been in management 20 years decided to complete his Ph.D. and become a history professor. A man who had worked in high-pressured start-ups the last dozen years made a conscious decision to take a pay cut and get hired in a nonprofit that aligns with his values.
Accetta urges people going through the passage to be fully conscious about what they are doing, otherwise, anxiety and depression and purposeless might set in. He says that the joy of going through this passage with intention is that “You will focus on relationships with self, with God, and with others. You will become truly yourself and make that a blessing to others. You will like yourself better and accept yourself as you are.”
Whatever your age, those are valid reasons to plan now to make 2016 the time to live the life you've always wanted.