Choose Your Own Retirement Adventure
Despite what you may often see depicted in the media, retirement living is not one-size-fits-all. Just like when you’re navigating the transition into adulthood as an adolescent, no one can really prepare you for the transition from working life to retirement. However, you can rest safely with the knowledge that the options are endless. Retirement living looks different for everyone, so you’re free to forge your own path! Nancy K. Schlossberg, a 91-year-old consultant about life transitions, has a theory that began about 20 years ago when she retired herself – there are 6 main types of retirees. Which type do you identify with most closely?
The Continuer retiree may modify their lifestyle and slow down a bit, but largely choose to simply stay the course along a similar path to what they were following pre-retirement. Some may even stay at the same company where they were employed in a non-salaried capacity, or simply maintain a busy schedule similar to the one they managed before retirement. Their connection to their work remains, but they modify their relationship to it.
The Easy Gliding retiree is just ready to relax! They have worked hard all their lives and are ready to take the pressure off themselves and take each day as it comes. Oftentimes these are the retirees who end up babysitting their grandchildren due to their lack of other obligations, which can help provide the sense of purpose that some retirees report they lack. Easy Gliders may also just go with the flow and indulge impulses like travel that they may have previously avoided.
The Adventuring retiree considers their retirement an opportunity to try something new, or perhaps even pursue an old dream. They tend to create a new way of life for themselves – or many new ways. Schlossberg cites the case of a man who retired from a job with the US Congress and decided to become a massage therapist in retirement.
The Involved Spectator still has great care and investment in the work they did prior to retirement, so they want to stay involved in a lesser extent. A great example might be a company executive who retires and decides to volunteer at their former employer by mentoring young staff, or providing their experience as a consultant on a limited basis.
Searchers exist outside of retirement as well (usually called the Seeker personality type), and could be anyone who is still looking for their niche, or trying to find the right path to follow. The Searcher retiree may have always been a Seeker, or they may have found themselves yearning for more after the lifestyle adjustment that comes along with retirement. They may try on many different hats while they are in this phase of retirement, or simply continue their search until they find the right lifestyle.
The Retreater type of retiree is someone who detaches from previous routine, either to analyze their situation and decide on their next steps, or unfortunately out of depression. Retirees and their loved ones should be mindful of the signs of depression to help the Retreater cope with their new way of life. Change is harder for some people than others, and this type of retiree may just require a little more time and care from their support systems to find their way.
Which path will you choose?
There are many different paths laid out for all of us after retirement, and there is no wrong way to turn! Schlossberg compares the retirement process to the career selection process after college graduation for young adults, as “[some people know] exactly what they want to do… but there are those who don’t know, and it is time to explore, to search, to just go wild.” Use this time as your opportunity to explore.
So no matter where you are in the journey of retirement, rest assured that you (or your loved one) will be sure to find a path that works for your personality. And remember – it’s never too late to steer your life in a new direction! In a life plan community like Edenwald, there are endless opportunities and resources available to help retirees forge their new path.