Retired? Soon to retire? Transitions require adaptations.
Once we were the experts in our field, having spent careers developing our skills, acquiring knowledge, experience, and wisdom. Most likely, prior to retirement we reached a certain pinnacle, met significant goals, or achieved some notoriety. As the masters of our trade, we then became the mentors, the advisers, the role-models.
Just as we reach the zenith, our compass spins and guides us into an unknown territory…retirement.
Pre-retirees no doubt have qualms about their life post-retirement, just as I did. Issues of finances and health care dominate the worry list. Once those decisions have been settled, deeper questions arise. What will I do with myself? With whom will I engage? Will I be bored? Above all, how will I remain relevant?
If you are like me, you actually toy with the idea of part-time work at first. Your former place of employment will be at a loss without you. You will sacrifice a portion of your well-earned retirement to assist the institution (company, firm, facility) with the transition following your exit. Let’s not kid ourselves; this is secretly a fear of losing relevance.
I quickly came to my senses and charged down the new path.
Fortunately, I have interests to pursue in fields that challenge me in all the ways my career did, only with much less stress, and for the most part, on my own timeline. New friends and cohorts fill the roles my colleagues once did.
Best of all, l discovered an essential way to remain relevant using skills developed over 65 years. I’m not talking about a demanding schedule, meeting deadlines, or dealing with unreasonable associates. All it takes is quality time with my granddaughters.
Top 5 ways I remain relevant to a 6-year old:
- Become a slime expert. Stock glue and know how to activate it.
- Give a complete, authentic medical exam and flu shot to a waiting room of doll babies.
- Always be prepared to participate in the “Three-marker Challenge.”
- Be adept at multiple voices for stuffed animals and dolls.
- Agree to always play Ken, never Barbie.
Top 5 ways I remain relevant to an 8-year old:
- Show her how to write in code.
- Ask her to teach me to do the Floss.
- Become a formidable Monopoly opponent.
- Teach her double solitaire and all kinds of poker.
- Have my own Emoji for text messaging.
In just a few years I know I’ll be irrelevant again. Time to adapt. I’m confident I’ll find my way back to relevance somehow with someone. And so will you.