Sunday, April 22, 2018

Retirement – The Great Unknown

Retirement is often termed “The Great Unknown” by many who are creeping up on that time, and by some who have actively entered into that time of life where they are not “working” for a living. It can be confusing, frustrating, and worrisome if you resist the changes you feel taking place in your life.

Karl, my spouse of 40 years, retired almost exactly one year ago. He has stayed busy, but is just now beginning to verbalize what he wants his days (and nights) to be filled with as he moves forward. It is significantly different than the visioning we did together about 18 months ago, and some of that is driven by fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of what our government will look like after this election. Fear of the impact this will have on our retirement years.

Other changes are driven by motivation and challenge to try things he has never done before – and create some level of mastery over the unknown. So, he is taking swimming lessons. He is learning about the internet by doing research on retinitis pigmentosa, a hereditary disease that is affecting our son’s ability to see.  He is tackling e-mail, Facebook, and creating electronic documents.

As I watch him move gently (and sometimes not so gently) into his retirement, I am inspired to be more open and less fearful of becoming more fully who I am meant to be. As my coaching practice appears to be winding down – partly due to my unwillingness to work 15 hours a day, and partly because my path may be elsewhere – I am facing my own great unknown. I have always worked hard at whatever my career path has been at the time. I have rarely sat quiet for long periods of time, and have tackled any endeavor with gusto and the excitement to “be known”.

My fears? Too many things I don’t like to do await me – housework, laundry, and cooking to name a few – and I fear that may be all that is there. Why? Because we are faced with the possibility of not having enough money to do all we would like to do, along with a myriad of other beliefs we have agreed to over time. Ridicalus! As my grandchildren would say.

Take up the paintbrush again? Learn how to create stained glass pictures? Create beautiful and useful pottery? Arrange flowers? Am I “good enough?” Let’s be real – does it matter if I’m good enough if I am having a good time? I don’t have to prove anything. Nobody is going to be giving me a review, and the goal is to enjoy myself.

Go back to school? Maybe, but do I want to commit to classwork, lectures and tests again? Perhaps not. But I know I don’t want to stop learning. Learning is at the core of who I am – and I love to share what I have learned with others who are as excited as I am about the topic. Why? Because I learn even more from them.

Travel and see this beautiful world? Can this be done when we are consciously concerned about having enough money to live day to day in the house we call home? Do we really want to travel given the unrest in many countries we would like to see? Yes, I believe there are ways for us to do this, we just need to be creative and hopeful.

Here is the thing, though. This is the great unlearning:  I have ALWAYS equated success and mastery with the receipt of money in exchange for the energy I was expending. As I begin to travel this new path, I am learning that the exchange of energy I am receiving for my success and mastery has nothing to do with money, it has everything to do with a sense of well-being, joy and relationships. The exchange rests in the conversations, working with my hands and my heart, while engaging my mind. It is in the delight of sharing a new idea, and rolling it around to see if it fits. It is the light in the person’s eye I am talking to.

I have told many people that I love change. This is the time of life where my sweet spouse and I are quietly, and not so quietly, moving into growing older together, in relationship with our families – parents, children, grandchildren, and siblings – and friends. We have worked hard, saved money, contributed to our community and country through taxes and the generosity of our souls. I am saddened that my husband is so fearful of our basic survival because of politics and greed within our country that he curtails partaking of things that give him joy, and that this impacts my life at times, as well.

And, so we continue to move daily into the great unknown. One step at a time, we create what we live. Let us not create out of fear, but out of joy.

How do you turn your fear into joy?

Georgia Feiste, President of Collaborative Transitions Coaching, Inc., located in Lincoln, NE, and Phoenix, AZ, is a personal growth and leadership coach, writer, and workshop facilitator.  She is also a Usui Reiki Master and EFT practitioner.  Her passion is success grounded in purpose and passion, standards of integrity and priorities in life.  You can also find Georgia on her website, Collaborative Transitions, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.   Georgia may also be reached at (402) 304-1902 if you wish to schedule a 30 minute complementary consultation.

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