What will retirement be like for you? Will you move to a quaint cottage in northern Minnesota? Open a resale bookshop in your favorite part of town? Or even go skydiving on a random Tuesday afternoon? Having the time to experience life to the fullest is often a welcome change of pace after leaving a hustling and bustling career.
When we talk about retirement, it’s mostly centered around properly saving and investing for those golden years, and not enough on people’s mental preparation.
Out With the Old, In With the New
Retirement is a major life transition. You go from having your routine: getting up at 6, pouring coffee, hitting the gym, and off to the office. Then suddenly, seemingly without warning, your rhythm and schedule alter drastically. The responsibilities you had in your working life are no longer there and a new sense of openness sets in. You may not see the same faces you are used to seeing on a daily basis. Your life may develop a new sense of quiet and studies show that your sense of self is vulnerable to distinct alterations.
The life you knew has changed into this unfamiliar space. That ‘new-ness’ may at first be uncomfortable, like new linens before they are washed. Yet, in time that space can make your life beautiful in fresh and exciting ways through forming new attachments and finding a new community.
The Importance of Community
Community can change, and even though it might look different in retirement, it garners joy and fulfilment in similar ways. When we were employed full-time, we may have found community through our work. Office mates may have met up to play golf on the weekends, or you might have stepped out of the office every once in a while to grab lunch with a coworker. You bonded over your shared goal - benefiting the company that employed everyone in your work community. Now that you’re no longer in the same rhythm, it’s important to find new communities to plug into during retirement.
Sparking new friendships in retirement is crucial for long-term happiness and fulfilment. In times of change and instability, one factor that remains imperative for success is a support system of meaningful relationships. Whenever you undergo a big transition in life, whether that be graduating from college, moving to a new city, changing careers, etc. a support system becomes the backbone for mental stability through those turbulent times and retirement is the same way.
Relationships are able to provide a richness and fullness to your life. This added meaning is increasingly important when transitioning into retirement. Generating new, lasting relationships can be difficult, but there are many resources for you to use to help find the best community fit for you during your years as a retiree.
Finding the Right Fit
Life in retirement looks different to each person. If you are looking into designated retirement living spaces, they may provide many outreach and activity groups within your designated community. If a specific retirement living home is not the best option for you, think about the ways you can find a community outside of your home.
There are many ways to find and build new relationships in retirement. Below are some options to consider:
- Check out local organizations. Many local community colleges, religious groups, and community centers offer classes and clubs specifically for retirees.
- Volunteer some time for a charity or cause you care about. Retirement is the perfect time to get involved with organizations you’ve always been passionate about supporting!
- Enhance your online community. This can be done by having a family group on Facebook to share photos, videos, articles to keep you connected to your loved ones.
- Looking into continuing education programs. Just because you’re retired doesn’t mean you have to stop learning and improving! Setting new continuing education goals, or picking up a part time class in your newfound free time can be a fantastic way to connect with others who have shared interests.
- Consider part-time work. Often times, working part time can help you stay mentally sharp and to find the same type of work community you had at your previous job. You don’t have to return to the same kind of work you retired from. Use this new season to explore a career path you’ve always had an interest in, pick up freelancing, or start your own at-home business.
- Create your own group like a book club or game night. Find an activity that is meaningful to you and that will attract like-minded people.
- Join a retirement, or mid-life transition group. Finding other people who are going through exactly what you’re experiencing can help you to form long-lasting connections.
Retirement should be a beautiful time in your life. Be sure to find a community that leaves you feeling impactful, meaningful, and fulfilled.