5 WAYS RETIREMENT CHANGES YOUR PERSPECTIVE

Have you wondered what retirement will be like? Are you worried you'll be bored? There are certainly changes that come with it - but they're all good and boredom isn't one of them! #midlife #retirement

HOW RETIREMENT IS CHANGING MY PERCEPTION OF LIFE

As I slide into retirement I'm coming to appreciate how much it's changing my perception of different aspects of my life. In the beginning I was fighting the idea of not being "gainfully employed" any longer. I resented retirement being thrust upon me when I wasn't expecting it. I see-sawed around the idea of returning to work so I didn't have to redefine myself and didn't have to feel the need to justify no longer being in the workforce.

A few months into the journey of "to work or not to work? - that is the question" (to paraphrase Hamlet badly!) I started to notice that I was changing. I was morphing from being a Do-er into being a Be-er, in other words, I was learning to let go of the picture I've always carried of myself as being a bustling worker bee and gradually slipping into a new persona of being Un-Busy but still productive. I've been learning to find a new normal and to take pleasure in a calmer life. I thought I'd mention five of the changes that retirement has made in my life over the last six months.

1) IT CHANGES HOW YOU DEFINE BUSY

One of the questions I get asked (and asked myself) was "Won't you get bored?" I mean there's no job filling 20+ hours of my week anymore. There's no early morning routine, followed by the drive to work, followed by 8 hours of busy-ness, followed by coming home, dinner, a spare couple of hours and then bed - Rinse and Repeat. Instead I start my mornings slowly and have time for whatever takes my fancy for that particular day. Every day is different, but every day is full - just a different kind of fullness, a different pace, a different approach to how my week flows. 

There's no more waiting for the weekend, every day is the weekend now. Some days have a regular commitment - but most are flexible. I love that I can decide which day I want to do something, rather than fitting it in around a busy work schedule. I'm not recovering from frantic work days, or stressfully juggling priorities, now life is on a much more even keel where I'm cruising through, rather than being busy and then recovering from busy-ness and then repeating the pattern over and over again. 

2) IT CHANGES HOW YOU SPEND MONEY

I've never been a lavish spender, in fact "Frugality" is probably my middle name. I didn't splurge big time when we had two incomes, but spent wisely and invested into paying off our mortgage, paying our bills, and putting aside money for a rainy day. At the same time, I always knew that I'd have a payday every fortnight and that it would top up what had been spent in the weeks before. That pay cheque doesn't appear any more. I wondered what we'd do without it - and you know what? I haven't really missed it. 

There isn't an abundance of money being funnelled into savings, but those savings aren't really dwindling either. We continue to live within our means and our spending has adjusted accordingly. I save money in all sorts of ways - I need less clothes because I don't have work clothes to worry about, or work shoes, or work appearances to maintain. I get my hair done at the local Senior Cits centre - and it looks just as good, but at a lower cost, and I don't need my nails to be perfect. I have time to shop for the specials and I have more time to cook - we just seem to spend less money without even trying.

3) IT CHANGES HOW YOU PERCEIVE TIME

When I was working, time just flashed by. I'd be hanging out for lunchtime, or for the end of the work day. I used to almost skip out to my car when the work day was over. I'd be counting down the days until my working week was finished. Then I'd be planning where to fit in a coffee date, or some exercise, or a doctor/dental/hairdresser visit. It didn't matter if I was unwell, or the weather was miserable, or there were other people wanting to spend time with me.....work always came first and it ate up my time.

Now I live life at a different pace. My days start slower, I get up when I'm ready - not when my alarm summons me. I walk every day (morning and afternoon), I have time to do more around the house, and I have time to do more outside the home. I'm not squeezing things into my spare time because now all my time is "spare time" and I can organize it however I like. Time doesn't control me anymore - I'm free to do what I want, when I want, and on my own terms - no more stress!

Let's start honoring our own needs for rest, self-care and balance. Erica Layne #lifequotes

4) IT CHANGES YOUR CONVERSATIONS

When I was working in my last job I felt like all I talked about with my husband and close friends was how hard it all was. I'd relate the latest craziness, or talk about how stressed I was, in turn I'd be getting advice on what to do next, how to preserve my sanity, or how to cope with the stress and tiredness that came with it. My coffee chats were all to do with the good, the bad, and the ugly of my worklife - and then a few extra bits thrown in at the end. Even when I worked in less toxic environments, there was a lot of conversation about work and work related topics because that's what filled most of my days (and the days of my working friends).

Now when I catch up with a friend for coffee we talk about our interests, we chat about grandchildren, or holidays, or hobbies, or what's going on in the world. There's so much more variety and it challenges me to keep my life interesting (or I'd have nothing to share!) When my husband and I have our afternoon coffee we chat about little snippets from our day - no more de-briefing my work day (thank goodness!) We laugh and engage on a completely different level than we did before I stopped work.

5) IT CHANGES YOUR PRIORITIES

Retiring from the 9-5 routine means that my life is completely different now. I have a new focus on what's important and where I need to invest my time and attention. I feel like I can just be myself these days - not "Work Leanne" or "Days Off Leanne" just "Leanne" who isn't marching to anyone else's drumbeat. I don't have to dress up or look a certain way (unless I feel like it) I don't need to prove my capabilities or my worthiness, I can just live life on my own terms at my own pace. I choose what's important and what's not, where to invest my time and where to say "No". 

Life is short and I want the years ahead to be about the things I consider to be valuable. Working for an extra dollar and jumping through the hoops of other people isn't a priority for me anymore. I want a slower, calmer, more considered life - and retirement offers me that every day. I can't believe that I was worried about being bored - there has not been one.single.day when I've felt bored since leaving work. Life is a delight and just keeps getting better.

You don't have to be what others want you to be. You don't have to be anyone other than who you authentically are. Daniell Koepke #lifequotes

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Are you retired and enjoying this new stage of life? Did it change your perspective? If you're not retired, are you looking forward to it or are you worried that it might not be fulfilling or interesting enough for you? Retirement (like life) is what you make it - that's my takeaway from the journey so far.


RELATED POSTS


Have you wondered what retirement will be like? Are you worried you'll be bored? There are certainly changes that come with it - but they're all good and boredom isn't one of them! #midlife #retirement
Have you wondered what retirement will be like? Are you worried you'll be bored? There are certainly changes that come with it - but they're all good and boredom isn't one of them! #midlife #retirement

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45 comments

  1. I can so relate to all these points Leanne, I wrote a similar post after I accepted my forced retirement. It's such a lovely feeling to not have to rush in the morning but yet every day is full of something or nothing if that's what I want! I'm so glad to hear the happiness and acceptance in your words. Keep enjoying your time.

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    1. I think when retirement doesn't come with a gradual lead up, it shakes our world Deb. I love that you found a similar experience - once you accept a slower pace of life it becomes very addictive!

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    2. Yes I agree Leanne, it's very addictive and time-consuming all at once! Back for #mlstl and sharing

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  2. Looking forward to retirement. Wish I had been better about our finances but it is what it is. I still have a few years of work ahead of me but hubby is retired.

    Janet’s Smiles

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    1. I thought I had a few years ahead of me too Janet - but life had other ideas! I'd love to be richer, but I think we all want to have more in the bank. Once you accept that you have enough then it gets easier to go with the flow and enjoy the process x

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  3. Hi Leanne - Great to read how you're enjoying your early retirement. I've always enjoyed mine. I knew from the get go that I'd enjoy every minute of it.#MLSTL

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    1. I think it took me a while to get my head around it because it was thrust onto me rather than being something I gradually moved towards Natalie. Now I love it and I wonder why I waited so long!

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  4. Leanne,
    I am so envious! Sounds like you are adjusting well to this retirement thing! I know from past posts you weren't sure if you made the right decision. So happy for you!
    Theresa @ fabinyourfifties.com

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    1. I definitely agonized over it all Theresa - when it came so unexpectedly I think I felt a bit lost at sea. Now that I've had time to burrow into retirement, I really don't want to ever go back to work. I love this new phase of life.

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  5. I'm so pleased you're enjoying retirement Leanne and it's wonderful that you can now share the benefits of it and lessons learned about yourself. I don't consider myself retired yet. I still do a few little things that earn some money and treat them like a job. I can't quite let go and relax yet. However, I do not have the daily commute and my time is my own to decide what to do with and for that I'm very grateful at this stage of my life! xo

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    1. I'm so grateful too Min - regardless of whether we earn an income or not, it's not what defines us. I think Midlife becomes a time where we take stock of where we're at and what works/doesn't work for us. I'm really working at moving on from the assumption that earning an income is what gives someone value - because that is an absolutely ridiculous idea when I think about it seriously!

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  6. I have loved being retired from day one. It is funny on Monday I had two things I really wanted to do but one that felt like a chore. I finally thought to myself the "chore" doesn't have to be done today it can be done whenever I pick to do it. I forget sometimes that I can pick and chose what I do. It is all very freeing.

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    1. Hi Victoria - it's the freedom and flexibility that I love too. I have my DIL and grandgirls down for a week and I don't have to leave them to go to work - how fabulous is that? I think if I was bored or feeling pressured to find a job it would be different, instead it's just a lovely time of life that I'm relishing.

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  7. It sounds to me that you have made a really positive transition Leanne and you are not experiencing the relevance deprivation that tends to hit so many retirees. It's great to hear how well this has worked for you. Sharing this

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    1. I did feel that "relevance deprivation" a little bit when I was first at home. I was so used to defining myself by bringing in part of the family income - it has been a new definition to be the "dependent" one (but I'm getting used to it rapidly!)

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  8. You’ve definitely hit the nail on the head and covered all the things I love about retirement. I couldn’t be happier with my life and after three years away from the corporate world my blood pressure is where it should be!! I love being un-busy and doing things on my own schedule. Life is good!!!

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    1. Hi Linda - you summed it up perfectly and I feel the same way. I was so stressed by the time I finished work and it took me a few months to wind down and find myself again. I can't believe I allowed things to descend to such a low point before I finally pulled the pin - but better late than never!

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  9. Hi Leanne, I can 'hear' the happiness and peace that you have found in retirement. It is a wonderful thing! Although I'm not retired, it's been 5 years since I had to march to the 9 to 5 drummer. Self employment can mean a lot of hours, but I'm the boss and can schedule appointments, family time and social stuff as I want. I really love that aspect of owning a business. Shared on SM. #MLSTL xo

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    1. I think self-employment would be a great compromise between working and retiring Candi - I just can't think of anything that would earn me an income from home. I've often envied creative people who can make and sell stuff or design things for others - being a bit of a practical soul means I'll just have to enjoy retirement a bit earlier than expected.

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  10. I honor your process Leanne and think you are learning valuable lessons. Visiting you from #mlstl. Re-setting priorities seems like a thing I had to do at several stages of my life. It was painful at the time, but well worth it. Thankfully, I've learned self-care,authenticity, and serving a higher purpose is right up there at the top of my list. Will reshare and pin.

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    1. Hi Nancy - you are so right about re-setting priorities. So much changed when I suddenly walked out of that job. I thought I'd rest and then look for a new job. The longer I'm home, the more I'm realizing that I really don't want to work any more - I want to march to my own drumbeat these days.

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  11. Leanne, As I was reading this, I kept nodding my head in agreement! I took me a bit longer in retirement to reach this point of enjoying the "un-busy" lifestyle I have. I too, love getting up when I wake up, taking the time to journal with a cup of coffee, looking out the window as I contemplate life. Everyday is different and I've put into place things I enjoy - yoga classes, walk & talk with friends, having fun trying new things, and exploring new foods & restaurants. And blogging. But as you said... I love being able to decide what I want to do when I want to do it! It's so great to hear the happiness in your voice about life!

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    1. Pat I think you left a more high power job than I did and that makes the adjustment harder. I didn't identify with my job and I certainly didn't identify with the person my job had turned me into. That might have made the process easier, but I still needed to work through the "to work or not to work" again question because working was so tightly tied to my self image and identity. I'm slowly letting all that go now and it's such a joy!

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  12. Hi Leanne, I needed to read this today. I've been struggling probably for the last five years since retiring and still haven't 'found what I'm looking for' (as the song goes). I am seriously now considering all my options as I want to enjoy my life which isn't happening at the moment. I think we can be busy or un-busy the key is which state makes us feel happy and contented. It is about finding and changing your priorities to suit your own needs rather than feeling like we have to continue on a path because we think that is what is expected of us. Thanks for a lesson in retirement and you are sounding much more relaxed these days. Sharing on SM and as always enjoying co-hosting #MLSTL with you. xx

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    1. I think we assume others expect things of us and that isn't actually the case. Our biggest critics and highest "expectors" are always ourselves and those around us are often a lot kinder in their thoughts than we are in our own heads. I'm paring back on what I think others are thinking and just getting on with doing what I love (except when I forget and need to be told that I'm my own worst enemy). It's so freeing when you just get on with loving your life and living it on your own terms.

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  13. I'm looking forward to a day when I'm not tied to the corporate or day job, but to be honest, I don't intend retiring - just retiring from a day job. One day. Great post, by the way...I'm loving what you're learning - and writing - since leaving work.

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    1. You have so many strings to your bow that I think leaving work would just free you up to do more of the other things you love Jo. Think of the extra novels you'll write, the recipes you'll cook, the blog posts, photography, road trips..... your list is endless!

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  14. It all sounds like a wonderful life, and very similar to my own.

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    1. It's so much better than I ever expected Amy :)

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  15. I am not retired yet, but it is coming in the not too distant future. I am a little concerned about wasting my days, but mostly I'm looking forward to the freedom to exercise, read, travel, schedule appointments, blog--all on my own time schedule, rather than squeezing them in between work responsibilities. Thanks for hosting #MLSTL Leanne!

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    1. Hi Christie - I think you feel a bit guilty initially because you're not squeezing everything in around work - all that extra time seems to be a little self-indulgent. Then you start to get the hang of it and it just flows (it's a wonderful feeling!)

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  16. HI, Leanne - This post captured my full attention from the title on down. After reading the heading, I paused and hastily noted 5 'top of my head' ways in which my perspectives have changed in retirement.
    Business, Money and Priorities were similar for me as to what you had written. I also had Relationships (especially Family) and Authenticity as my other two broad headings. I hadn't thought about Conversations - but that has been a big change area for me as well. Thank you for another very thought-provoking post!

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    1. Donna I love how you took a second to figure out your own priorities. I think relationships and conversations are similar threads because it's about connections and having more time for them. For me it's just about having that quality (and quantity) of time to engage in the things that are meaningful and relevant - rather than forced or expected. It's such a pleasure to do things on my own terms these days.

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  17. Hi Leanne,

    I have missed many of your posts, since my laptop wasn't connecting to Wi-Fi, and since I was busy with work, it took some time for me to get the laptop back to working condition.

    This is very nice post. I have bookmarked this post, so that I can look it up when I retire in about five years.

    I can imagine the situation. I am looking forward to it, because I think I will have more time for myself, and I can make good use of it in the way I like.

    Looking forward to your posts, and also taking part in #MLSTL party :-)

    - Pradeep

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    1. Hi Pradeep - I'm glad you're back on deck again - having a broken laptop must have been really annoying! I've definitely noticed that retirement is very different than what I expected - much better in a lot of ways (which is a relief) I wasn't expecting to be here for another 5 years either, but life often deals us unexpected glitches and we need to make the best of them don't we?

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  18. I retired in December and I love it. Especially the lounging in the morning. I’m not in a rush and I joke I’ve become the old lady in the slow lane on the freeway. I don’t care if I’m at a red light. I’m not in a hurry! The one thing that has been hard (and I’m still struggling with) is getting rid of my work clothes. I was a medical social worker and had beautiful skirts I wore to work. I got so many compliments from patients about my outfits and I think it was a nice change from all the scrubs and white coats they saw. I have tried several times to get rid of them and just couldn’t. Finally I parted with three and I sobbed!!!! I had to stop. I still have 18 skirts to go! I have realized those skirts were part of my job to help cheer patients up. Anyway, I know eventually I will donate them to an organization that helps women find jobs, but that has been a big surprise having such a hard time letting go of them. I don’t really miss any other part of my job. I was ready to retire. I read articles now about finding a new purpose, but I don’t need a purpose anymore. My purpose is to enjoy life. So happy to have discovered your blog. I’m in Southern California, US.

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    1. Hi Laurel, I'm so glad you found me too. I think we're in similar stages of Midlife atm and I'm glad you're enjoying slowing down too. I LOVE not dealing with the morning rush and drive into work and traffic lights, other drivers etc. I really like the idea of you donating your skirts to somewhere they'll be valued. I only had boring receptionist type outfits and will probably donate all my work pants and skirts and blouses in the next 12 months - I'm hoping a few things can be "casual-ized" but I'm not holding my breath! I still smile every Monday morning when I sleep in and then start my day with a walk and a lovely breakfast and coffee instead of putting on my work face and going in to count down the hours until home time!

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  19. Wow! I retired exactly one year ago from teaching. Although I loved my career, I am very happy to have my own time now. I agree with every one of your points! Especially not waking to an alarm and having a slow start to the morning. I am also enjoying my art hobby and doing volunteer work to give to others in need.

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    1. Hi Sharon - I love that so many of us are enjoying taking a step back. I must say that I envy "crafty" people because being creative adds another layer to filling your days. I'm counting blogging as my "art form" and I've soooo appreciated the care and support from others as I've transitioned into this stage so unexpectedly. It makes me smile every time I read someone's story.

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  20. I just love, love, love this whole post! Such excellent points you make!
    I'm not quite there - close. Less than a year!
    I enjoyed reading all your thoughts about how the perspective changes.
    Sharing for MLSTL

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    1. Hi Trisha - you're going to LOVE retirement when you get here. I think it was so tricky for me because it came unexpectedly and I resented the fact that this very difficult woman forced my hand. Now I have a whole different reflection on it - she almost did me a favour by getting me to this stage a few years earlier than I planned!

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  21. I love this... I can relate to some of it, given my current state of unemployment. I think it's a reminder too that change can be a very good thing. A blessing in fact.

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    1. I think change happens to us whether we want it our not Deb - and we just need to make the best of what life deals us. Whether we choose to live resentfully or gratefully is up to us - and I'm choosing gratitude and to savour this quiet time (I hope you do too) :)

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  22. Hi Leanne! Just catching up on your posts and saw this one and HAD to comment. It's a really good one! In so many ways I see it as more proof that you are "rightsizing" your life. Of course, I don't think you have to actually retire to start implementing most of them but if retirement helps you get there...so much the better. I'm glad you are finding such contentment in retirement and can't help but believe it will just continue to get better and better! ~Kathy

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    1. Hi Kathy - yes "rightsizing" sums up a lot of what this stage of life is becoming for me. I felt like I was living a life that wasn't a good fit for quite a while, and now I can exhale and settle into something much simpler and sweeter - and it's a lovely feeling!

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