How not to retire

Can retirement really be fulfilling?


If you’re due to retire, it may or may not be because you have chosen to do so. Even if it’s your choice, you may still wonder ‘what will it be like?’ You might tell yourself: ‘I worked hard all my life, I deserve a rest’.

Without a doubt, you do – so you will spend the next three months chilling out. But this stage of your life lasts longer than three months. It can last 20 or 30 years. How long do you want to chill out? How many holidays and cruises can you do in any one year? If you don’t have the finances to support that kind of lifestyle, there are other ways to chill out, but then what?

Perhaps you love your work and dread retirement. One day you have purpose, companionship and structure, and the day after you have…nothing. Or you might just have no idea what it will be like and find the uncertainty stressful and draining.


In my conversations with people in the same situation I’m struck by how many suddenly become very busy at work in the last couple of days or weeks. They tell me they have to tie loose ends; they don’t want to leave a mess; they have to hand over to their successor; they have to train them from scratch.

The extent of their denial of the reality of their circumstances, even if it was their choice to retire in the first place, is worrying. They will go from all this busy-ness to nothing.

See also  Do women ever retire? A meditation on time

No more meetings, no more responsibilities, no more structure, no more reason to get up in the morning, no longer being needed, no longer knowing you make a difference or a useful contribution. The shock to the system will hit them hard.

Planning ahead

Don’t wait until retirement is just around the corner: start planning the next stage of your life right now!

Here are two important questions you might like to ask yourself:

  • What would I like to do if I knew I couldn’t fail and money was not a problem?
  • What would I regret not having done if I looked back over my life from my death bed?

sunset-retire-happy-flickrIt is important to remember…

You have a lot more to offer in terms of knowledge, skills, life experience and wisdom than you realise. In fact, throughout your working life you only used a fraction of your gifts, just enough to fulfil your role.

This is the time for you to start creating a life that really suits you, a life that is enjoyable, meaningful and rewarding. If you start now, you will be in charge of your own destiny. How empowering is that?!

About Sue Plumtree

Today, at 72 I am totally fulfilled and purposeful. I call myself The Life Enhancing Coach, working with people over 50 who are ready to create a meaningful and rewarding future – regardless of their present circumstances.