It’s time to rethink retirement.
Retirement is a significant milestone in one’s life, and it often brings a range of emotions, including feelings of loss. For women, this can be especially challenging as they face societal pressures to retire from their careers while also dealing with the loss of identity that may come with it.
Let me start with societal pressures.
The traditional model of retirement assumes that individuals will get an education, work for a certain number of years and then retire around the age of 65 to enjoy their remaining years in leisure.
That model is changing, and is flawed on so many levels (at least it was for me).
The traditional model doesn’t take into account the fact that people are living longer (20 or even 30 years after retirement), and women typically live longer than men, which means they may have to stretch their retirement savings over a longer period of time. Perhaps most importantly, people nearing retirement are healthier than ever before.
Women often face additional pressures related to caregiving responsibilities for children and aging parents. While improving, studies show that age and gender discrimination in the workplace are still very real. As is the glass ceiling. All of this can make it difficult to advance in their careers, maintain financial stability, and plan for a comfortable retirement.
But, that’s just the financial piece of the puzzle.
In many cases, the loss of identity that may come with retirement can be the biggest challenge for women because for years their careers have been a major part of their identity and purpose. Stepping away from a career can leave women feeling uncertain and disconnected from their sense of self.
Believe it or not, it is possible to shift your mindset from a feeling of loss to one of opportunity, and it starts with understanding how the mind works.
The mind is an incredible, complex part of who you are. Housed in your brain, it is truly a unique and remarkable organ that, unlike any other one in your body, has feelings and a consciousness. While you cannot see the mind like you can the brain, they wok in partnership to determine how you react to situations and circumstances in your life. They also play a role in making decisions, being creative, taking initiative, and processing thoughts.
One way to harness the power of the mind is to understand the conscious and the subconscious. The conscious mind is responsible for our logical and analytical thinking, while the subconscious mind is like a library where all of our life experiences, emotions, and memories are stored.
When you operate on autopilot, you’re essentially operating from the subconscious mind, and since that’s where your library resides, it can mean you’re most likely living in past experiences and emotions, good or bad. If you’re dwelling on the past, longing for what no longer is, you may be feeling lost. Stuck.
But, when you become aware that thoughts (positive or negative) become emotions that lead to action (or inaction), shifting your mindset becomes the key in getting unstuck. It will help you let go of negative thoughts and beliefs, and help you let go of the past so you can focus on the future.
When I was feeling this loss of identity, I thought there was something wrong with me. But, in reality, I discovered it’s really quite common for women to feel that way, especially when they’re in a transition. They may feel like they are too old or that they don’t have much time left to pursue their dreams. Maybe they’re not even sure what it means to follow dreams any more.
These are just false beliefs that can hold you back from finding your true, authentic self and fulfillment in retirement.
By tapping into your conscious mind, you can gain a deeper understanding of your own thoughts and feelings, and begin to challenge any negative or limiting beliefs that may be holding you back. Shifting your mindset to one of opportunity allows you to open up a whole new world of possibilities where you’ll be more aligned with your real identity. (Hint: the real one is not your corporate one.)
That will help you take the next step.
So how do you do that?
While there are a number of ways (and I’ll dive deeper into them in my upcoming Next Chapter Plan™ Academy), here are some ideas to get you started:
- Mindfulness meditation: This involves focusing your attention on the present moment, and observing your thoughts and feelings without judgment. Mindfulness meditation has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, and increase self-awareness.
- Journaling: Writing down your thoughts and feelings can help you process them and gain a deeper understanding of your own mind. You can try free-writing, or using prompts to guide your writing.
- Creative activities: Engaging in creative activities like painting, drawing, or writing can help you tap into your conscious mind and express your thoughts and feelings in a new way. Even if you don’t consider yourself a “creative” person, trying something new can be a great way to access your conscious mind.
- Self-reflection: Taking time to reflect on your experiences, values, and goals can help you gain a deeper understanding of yourself and your motivations. You can try writing in a journal, or simply taking time each day to reflect on your thoughts and feelings.
Trying new things and taking risks can be scary, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. It’s never too late to learn something new, take up a new hobby, or pursue a new passion. By considering opportunities that are currently outside of your comfort zone, you can challenge yourself and find new opportunities that you may have never considered before.
Having the right mindset is key.
By understanding how the mind works and tapping into your creativity and conscious mind, you can challenge false beliefs and find your inner strengths and passions that can lead to a fulfilling retirement. If you can think of retirement as a new chapter in your life, and you begin to take control of your thoughts and actions, the transition and new chapter can be a time of growth, fulfillment, and happiness.
My blogs, Amazon best-selling book, and upcoming Next Chapter Plan™ Academy are tools I offer to help you shift your mindset. If you’re ready to join me in changing the way we think about retirement, sign up for the blog and get on the Academy waitlist here.