Remember when you used to be at parties and you were introduced, and the next question was, what do you do, or where do you work? Work was your identity. Almost your whole identity. People who did the same thing usually hung out together, shared tidbits outside of work, participated in hobbies, birthday parties, office parties, sports and trips together.
Your work defined you in your working life, but your hobbies will define you in your retirement years. Do you golf? Play canasta? Paint? Write? Garden? Each group you'll meet will ask you to join them based on your hobby or outside-home interests. Forget all the other accomplishments and kudos you garnered in your working life. If you don't golf, you'll never meet that couple who moved right next door to you spending six months each year chasing golf balls in your backyard.
The biggest challenge you'll face after work, is figuring out what to do with your time.
Working defined your very being; identified your pace; sent you out to read materials and supplementary literature related to your work experience; brought you together with folks; provided a sense of accomplishment and a sense of purpose to your days; and became your reason for living.
I encountered a mini crisis of identity when I went on maternity leave with my second child and decided to stay at home for the first couple of years. After six weeks of me and the baby, pacing our lives between feeding and changing and sleeping patterns, I was eager for adult conversations, for activities beyond my four walls, for stimulation from any source. Going back to school for a Master's Degree in an area that I craved to explore proved most satisfying. I could still be a full-time Mom to my baby, keep the house relatively clean for the family, and take one or two classes late afternoons when my husband could get home and babysit and appreciate the work I was doing.
I did not anticipate the crisis I went through when I retired.
My life lacked direction. I felt empty, inconsequential.
How about you?
Was the transition easy or difficult?