I have the pleasure for working with people from all ages, and although you may not initially think it I get quite a few people come to me who are in their retirement. I think the reason for this is the upheaval of moving into the later years of life, our bodies age, but inside we do not! In fact with retirement an element of play returns into life and sometimes it’s a difficult transition. A lot of retired gentlemen find it difficult when they move out of their work, they may have been doing for many years, it’s a serious routine change, and it can sometimes rip the ground from under your feet. We all look forward to retirement (especially if we don’t like our work), the focus is on what to do with all the free time, kicking back and relaxing, but I get a lot of enquiries from people who have retired, that feel like their life has suddenly lost direction.
We live longer, we work harder, we have more options than we ever used to, but when all this extra time lands on your plate and your routine changes from something so full of structure to something with none it can be quite disorientating.
I love working with people in different age groups, when I work with someone older than myself I really enjoy it because it is such a dynamic and symbiotic relationship, not only does the person I am working with get to learn a lot, but I do to. I would love for the UK to treasure their older generation more. And one of these days I would like to set up a mentoring group, where the older generation get to impart and share what they know with groups of younger people. They can do this in exchange for their company and learning on both sides, the younger generation learn more and get to engage on a different level and the older generation feel more connected and purposeful.
That would be great. But back to my point, I get and learn so much from the dynamics of a coaching relationship with a generation different to mine, being connected with someone younger than yourself can enlighten and connect you to your current environment so much more than sticking with one age group. When working with older people I get to learn a lot about perspectives and can gain some real wisdom, it’s a beautiful thing and it just doesn’t happen enough in our current times.
Then there is the history of retirement, we never used to have retirement, our life spans just didn’t warrant it! But now, obviously we are living a lot longer and have set ‘stages’ of our lives that we are supposed to adhere to, when you think of it, it is kind of enforced on us, we seem to think that as you get older you should start to ‘slow down’, unfortunately for some this slowing down is exactly what happens, and as some individuals may find, they have almost stopped living, and that is not the point of retirement! The idea is to find joy and relaxation, however once a person who has always worked and had goals loses that, they can also lose some of their identity with it. The importance for people in this transitional time is to still have goals and dreams to achieve and not to be defined by retirement. For anyone who has put off a life dream for the sake of working to making a living and still feels stuck in their retirement, it’s a great idea to rediscover that dream, never let it pass by because of age.
For many, retirement can become the shackles of aging. I think this is the best time to follow your calling and get more creative with learning more, teaching and not just getting a few hobbies, but really making something out of your life skills and knowledge. And learning new ones so that you can keep your mind active and keep in touch with all the new technologies that keep popping up, they can keep you on the ball and provide you with new networks of friends.
In fact it’s no surprise that people can be at a loss as to what to do with their retirement when it finally comes along, our live spans have rocketed over the last few hundred years with medical and technological advances, the luxury of time was never an issue, the older generation have no one to turn to for advice, because as they come to the last act so to speak no one treads before them. If you retire at 65 and are lucky enough to live into your nineties that’s 25 years to play with! What would you do with it?