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Tips to help adjust to retirement.

Discussion in 'Retirement' started by onmyknees, Jul 24, 2015.

  1. onmyknees

    onmyknees Established commenter

    I am 57 and have been thinking more and more about retirement. The truth is, that it's something that I am not sure that I'll take to very well! I enjoy my job and whilst it can be stressful, it is a massive part of how I define myself. I just wondered how people adapted and adjusted to retirement. I have no family at home and only a few close friends. I'm worried that I will find it really hard to adapt to and that I'll feel a bit lost when the time comes. Any tips you can give on how to prepare and adjust to such a big lifestyle change?
  2. lizziescat

    lizziescat Star commenter

    Pretty much describes my situation. So 1 year into retirement this is what I have found.

    • Really have not looked back at all and have hardly thought about school/ teaching.
    • I'm not sure I could return to teaching -I'm so out of touch -but surprisingly I don't mind!
    • I am busy looking forward to all the things I plan to do /didn't have time for before ( a friend had to remind me that I didn't HAVE to do everything in the first year.
    What I did

    • Plan to retire TO something (writing your novel/growing prize dahlias) rather than retiring FROM teaching. I have returned to full time study and so have different (but nice) deadlines to worry about and focus on. (This is the one thing which really made me mentally 'leave' school behind)
    • Try anything that people suggest. (a friend of mine has the rule to 'never say no to anything' )
    • Wallow in the luxury of finding out who you really are (away from the strictures and requirements of teaching) and what you are really like. I've loved discovering (as Little Miss Efficient) just how disorganized I really am
    • Don't commit to too much -it has the danger of time filling rather than being truly fulfilling
    • Accept that retirement is a new job. It will take you a while to learn how to do it
    • Have a single rule or some easy some rules -eg mine is to meet up with a friend or ex colleagues once a week -maybe for coffee or lunch. Others I know it's to be up and dressed by 8 am, walk to get a paper every morning at 9 am.
    This is still a work in progress. Some I know say it took them 2-3 years to learn to be retired, others it took the journey home on the last day.

    Finally, when do you plan to retire? I always intended going part time for the last few years in order to experiment with 'what to do' -for various reasons this didn't work out for me but it could it be a possibility for you?
  3. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    Think about a transition type of activity to take up without the stress of full time work. If you're a teacher it could be supply or part time if it was available. I did CAB for 18 months and learnt a lot. it was a work type thing that made me feel still part of the world of work before I really settled down. I also put keeping fit and healthy as my top priority. If you plan to join an organisation (I sing in two choirs, husband plays golf and croquet) they might need committee / admin help. We moved house and area and needed to build up new friends / connections. My husband joined the Lions Club and that has given him lots of contacts and we have a better social life than ever. My social circle was very limited when I was working but after 6 years of retirement life has really changed and is still developing in interesting ways. Walking groups are good - Ramblers operate in all areas.

    You may find it hard and feel a bit lost as you say but look at it as a challenge and push on through to the sunny uplands!!

    Good luck. There are lots of other posts on this theme so dig back a bit through the forum and see what other suggestions you can find.

    edit: great suggestions from lizziescat.
  4. InkyP

    InkyP Star commenter

    I had thought this might be a problem but as I went off sick before I retired I was in one day and gone the next. I haven't even been back to the school, other people brought some of my belongings out the rest I left there.

    Although my time off sick feels like another part of my life and I didn't start to feel better until my actual retirement date I haven't missed the job at all. I miss the contact with the children but I have replaced this with exam invigilation and my volunteer job conducting farm tours to school groups - and I don't need to set targets or assess them afterwards!
  5. gymjack

    gymjack New commenter

    I'm one year in and haven't missed it at all. Unlike you I was not enjoying my job very much at all, in fact it was suffocating me. I felt like someone stuck in a mains water pipe - very little manoeuvre. Like you I live alone but I'm never lonely or bored. I think an awful lot, something my job didn't really allow. When people ask what I'm DOING I say I'm recalibrating. Like others have said its a big adjustment and I'm not rushing it. Deep sea divers don't come up to the surface in one go, they go through decompression. After such a stressful job I think that's what we need to do.

    I have some major home revamping this autumn which will be hellish. After that I think I will feel ready to commit to activities. Until then I'm completely guilt free.

    Go for it, it will be the best thing you ever did.
    MrSaturday and gayallen like this.
  6. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter


    It may depend on where you live, but in my small (under 30,000 population) town there are large numbers of potential activities. Off the top of my head I could list:

    • Volunteering for English Heritage, National Trust, local museums, in the local library, in charity shops etc.
    • Open University & U3Age
    • Probus and other similar organisations
    • A range of regular walks
    • Local clubs and societies for a very wide range of interests, sporting and otherwise

    Now I haven't actually joined or participated in any of these, and I'm not bored. But it is nice to know that I could do so if I wanted to.

  7. Now here's a prob. I'm a very insular individual. Some of your suggestions sound ok but prob not my cup of tea. Thought about starting off with facebook. Joined but couldn't find any friends. Do you know a good site for generating FB friends?
  8. onmyknees

    onmyknees Established commenter

    Thanks so far to everyone- some really helpful thoughts! Gymjack- I love the term "recalibrating!" I cut down my working days this year with an aim to begin winding down and starting new hobbies. However, I have found myself working on quite a few of my days off. My New School Year's Resolution will to be much more strict about this.

    I've still got a couple or more years to go to prepare for retirement. I'm just concerned that I know I can become very lazy and unmotivated in the school holidays and I would hate to feel the same when I finally do retire.
    MrSaturday likes this.
  9. gymjack

    gymjack New commenter

    Lazy is not a bad word. You must rid yourself of your Protestant work ethic lol
    MrSaturday likes this.
  10. lizziescat

    lizziescat Star commenter

    I know what you mean. So....

    ...give yourself, say, 6 months to 'slob out', be lazy, watch Jeremy Kyle etc.

    (Guilt free. Remember the 1st days of the holidays when you just flop. Well you haven't got a term to get over but 30+? years)

    Then take stock. You might be happy with permanent flopping or you might have discovered another side of you or already be itching to start the art class, join the choir etc etc.

    1 year on and I'm still finding out what I am really like, what really interests me etc
  11. InkyP

    InkyP Star commenter

    My only Facebook friends are actually my friends, I have even culled some since I retired as they were colleagues I have no intention of keeping in touch with. You can search for friends via your old school/ university or employer to find people you may have lost touch with but I, personally, wouldn't want to recruit strangers as friends.
  12. kittylion

    kittylion Senior commenter

    I agree with InkyP - there is nobody on my list of friends whom I do not know personally. Also beware of ex-pupils finding you and wanting you to add them because "you don't teach them any more".
  13. olderandwiser

    olderandwiser Occasional commenter

    A very good way of making a transition is to spend a year or two teaching abroad for pay, or on voluntary projects or voluntary teaching in schools in say Cambodia, Kenya or Vietnam. Voluntary work is highly rewarding!

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