A recently retired client of mine and I refer to this period of her life as ‘oyster time’. It’s a period of time just to sit and reflect. In her words, there is nothing planned and she’ll just see what comes in to fill it.
I love that idea. After a 40 plus year working life when you have been at the mercy of a schedule and working to the beat of someone else’s drum, be that a boss, customers or clients, you might not be ready to rush into a busy retirement straightaway.
Taking the time to soak it all in, looking back on what you have achieved and observe how your feelings and motivations change as you transition into the next chapter of your life is an important part of the process.
I know of people who have struggled to adapt to retirement because they had nothing to retire to and weren’t ready to leave the past behind them.
It can also be about giving yourself permission to do nothing, or at least those activities that may be construed as lazy. Just yesterday my parents and I were talking about reading a book in the morning; they felt that it was a bit too much of a luxury to do something as carefree as reading a book at the start of the day. It’s your retirement, you’ve earned it, don’t let anyone judge how you choose to spend it.
After six months my client is now beginning to think about what is next and what her purpose is now. No doubt the answers will come in time, it might cause a bit of existential angst while she figures it out but I know she will.
After all, there comes a time in every oysters’ life that they need to find a new rock.