I was travelling last week, and at the airport met a number of people I hadn’t seen for ages. Which tells me I need to go to the airport more! At the first airport, one of the friends I met, talked of a friend of his who had ‘been retired’. As he talked, his sadness at his friends’ disintegration was obvious. In their new environment they were lost. There was no longer a structure they could rely on, they didn’t feel useful, they’d lost their identity and had retreated into themselves. They didn’t want to do anything, go anywhere and appeared to be lost, without direction. Like many people they hadn’t been ready to go, their identity had been wrapped up in their role; rather than who they were/are. They hadn’t had time to reflect on what their new identity would be. And, like many of us, when taken by surprise, they had allowed their grief at that loss to take over.
The Right Time:
There is never the right time to lose one’s job, and it is often bitter when we realize that age will play a part in being able to find another. However, if we can begin to think about our future earlier, if we think about what next, we can have some ideas ready if taken by surprise. And, if we look at our longevity, this third phase of life can be as much as, and for some, more than a third of our life, and yet we pay little thought to how we want to be, or feel during this time.
Who are we – Really?
Going back to the story of my friend. The story highlighted not only the question of asking ourselves ‘what’s next? Staying in the present, while looking at the future. But also, the question of identity, how do we see ourselves? By our profession/talent, our roles: mother/father sister, aunt, or by who we really are, as individuals. Try it, ask yourself:
Who are you? How do you see yourself and where do you see yourself next?
What are the fears that come up for you as you think about your future?
We should celebrate our longevity, not mourn the people we used to be. Often it is the thought of our mortality that stops us from looking at this time of life and making some decisions about what it is that we really want to do, how we want to feel, and how we can make these dreams come true. These are the times when we can review who we are, and who we want to become. To look at the stories we’ve lived with and ask ‘how are they serving me today?’ To acknowledge our actuality of moving into this phase of life.
While we spend time planning for a child, planning for our career, we rarely, except for wondering if we have sufficient money, plan for this final phase of life. Which, according to David Sinclair, PhD, a professor of Genetics at Harvard University can be up 35 – 40 years. If science is true, those of us who live up to 60, have a 50% chance of living until 90+, and each decade adds another 2.5 years to life
If you are having challenges looking at this next transition, or phase of life coaching may help you move forward. So, if you are ready to look at ‘what next’, contact us for a compliment session.
Remember, you only have this one life to live. Live it to the fullest, laugh and try to hug at least one person each day. Have gratitude for where you are now, and support others who struggle, give where you can – a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen to or a few dollars here and there. You never know the difference you can make!