Preparing for retirement is a major transition for anyone, and it can be especially challenging if you have a Type A personality. You may find that your competitive drive and outgoing nature can work against you unless you channel those qualities in a positive direction.
After all, when you’re used to managing others and having your identity tied up in your career, it can be disconcerting to discover that you’re no longer in charge.
Try these tips for how to adjust your expectations and enjoy your new freedom.
Adjusting Your Pace:
- Delay new commitments. It can be tempting to rush into new ventures now that you have so much free time. On the other hand, you’ll probably make sounder decisions if you give yourself time to shift your priorities and weigh your options.
- Practice relaxing. Lying in a hammock can be stressful for some individuals. Find relaxation practices that work for you, whether that means daily meditation or a demanding hobby.
- Exit gradually. See if your employer is interested in phased retirement. Some professionals prefer to cut back on their hours and responsibilities before leaving the workplace permanently.
Redirecting Your Energies:
- Volunteer your services. Use your time to support worthy causes. You may want to take on a leadership position that enables you to keep using your skills or experiment with new roles like tutoring children or growing vegetables.
- Take classes. Increase your knowledge by taking courses online or auditing classes at your local university. Lifelong learning can help you to stay mentally sharp, and may even reduce your risk of dementia.
- Create an encore career. Maybe you’ll decide that you want to continue working after all. Embarking on a second career can be an opportunity to explore new interests while adding to your income.
- Reconnect with family. Retirement can also give you a chance to catch up with loved ones if you used to spend a lot of hours at the office. Plan a family reunion or one-on-one time with your adult children.
- Start downsizing. It may take longer than you think to sort through the possessions you’ve accumulated over the years. Weeding through your garage and closets now may spare your children the necessity of doing it for you someday. Plus, you could uncover items that can be sold or donated.
- Now’s the time to visit the places you’ve been dreaming about. Shop around for good deals so you can see the countries where your ancestors came from or go skiing in the Alps. If you’re unsure where to start, browse online for ideas or ask friends and family for their recommendations.
- Exercise regularly. Physical activity is invigorating. Buy a gym membership or take up a sport that will encourage you to spend more time outdoors.
- Consider your spouse. If you’re married, retirement will be a big adjustment for your spouse too. Beware of the tendency to start bossing them around now that you no longer have employees reporting to you at work. Give each other some solitude on a regular basis so you can enjoy the extra hours you spend together.
- Extend your network. Social interactions may be what you’ll miss the most when you retire. Make new contacts by volunteering, joining groups, and throwing parties.
- Try counseling. Talk with a professional if retirement seems overwhelming. A little support could change how you think about the later stages of your life.
Your retirement years can be happy and fulfilling if you devote your considerable energies to rethinking your purpose and staying engaged. As a Type A personality, you may find happiness learning to relax more or creating new challenges for yourself.