Interestingly, people in either of the two extreme groups mentioned above are probably going to miss some aspects of their work life when they retire. So what is going on?
The research I have conducted over the past twenty years, together with the findings of other researchers, has found the following responses.
There is an initial period in retirement known as ‘the honeymoon’ phase. It is during this time that newly retired people view retirement as a long holiday – provided they have reasonable health and sufficient income, their sense of freedom may be intoxicating.
It is also during this time that those who have had a lifelong love of recreational activities such as golf or fishing may believe that these pastimes will be enough to sustain them through retirement – typically this will prove not to be the case! The word ‘Recreational’ is derived from ‘recreate’, or the need to recover from the stresses of an endeavour. However, where life’s activities become all recreation, some of the benefits of the workplace may soon be missed.
Here are just three of the fifteen benefits of work that are discussed in my book, Enjoying Retirement.
1. Structure. As some people approach retirement they may fear that a lack of structure in their lives will result in them wasting their days in aimless pursuits. Previously, the work place provided structure in the form of needing to get up at a certain time each day to arrive at work on time.
2. Social Networks. While you may or may not form close friendships at work, there are usually a few people with whom you bond and whose company you enjoy.
3. Balance. Most of us enjoy having a balance between work and play – in fact, as a long holiday draws to a close many people look forward to returning to work and to their work colleagues.
If you find you are missing any of these work aspects, the answer is relatively simple – do some research and look for activities that embody the qualities you are missing. If it is social contacts then you can try groups such as Meetup or The Australian Men’s Shed Association. You may also like to look at volunteering where you able to mix with others. These suggestions will also provide you with some structure to your day as well as a sense of balance between ‘work’ and recreation.
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