We’ve got a Name for That

Reading through different people’s transition blogs and talking with retirees, I’ve concluded that retirement transition is an amazingly individual transition.   Because you’re figuring out what you want to do next, it is all about you.   It is nobody else’s “should”!   But I’ve also realized, there are some things that many people feel.   And knowing you’re not alone in the feeling can be helpful.

If the feeling has been “named”, it indicates other people recognize what you are feeling.   Feelings are not rational. They are the emotional elements within us; the facts are secondary, or even not involved many times!   So it’s nice sometimes to know you’re not alone in the irrationality of feelings.

So here are some common ones. They are not restricted to retirement transition, but they create unique challenges in this life stage. Some of these names are well-known, but it’s nice to acknowledge that other recent retiree’s are dealing with them, too.

  • The Bag Lady Syndrome.   This seems to be among women of a certain age.   First, we never feel like we have enough money to retire. After retire, we worry the money will not last through our retirement. We worry about being a Bag Lady. How much is enough?   It’s very often not about the numbers, but rather an emotional confidence. It can prevent us from spending that hard-earned money on doing the things we always wanted to do – a barrier to living the life we want to have.
  • The Imposter Complex – It is amazing how many smart, accomplished individuals dread being exposed as incompetent. “I’m not good enough” is a common fear. And in retirement transition, when you need to learn new things or create new habits, it can be a huge barrier to start something. Believe in yourself affirmations can help – “I am good enough. My life successes to date were a result of my talents and hard work and dedication and can be reapplied to my future choices.”
  • The Good Girl Handcuffs – This could also be called “I want to stop living the should”. The good girl – doing the right things, the expected things, the pleasing others things.   And in retirement transition, you might want to break free of that “should”. The rebellious feeling can make you feel very alone. But, it’s not a new theme – “when I am old I shall wear purple” was written years ago. Go ahead & rebel!  Maybe purple hair… apparently it’s a trend.
  • The Someday Habit – This one is especially common among workaholics and/or early retirees. You got in the habit of putting off things – to save the money for retirement.   So many things are in the camp of delayed gratification – the places to go, things to learn, activities to try. “I’ll do it someday”. Now it’s a habit and breaking long-held habits is not easy! How can you move from someday to just-do-it now?


So how many of these named feelings are holding you back from your life vision?


Does the knowing make the doing any easier?

Doing some cleaning-out (Yes, I am trying to do the Marie Kondo method – not super successfully, but trying!), I just found a list of “quotes” in a notebook from about 10 years ago. They are a bit of guidance to myself on how to live life fully – using your mind and making conscious choices.

And they are as true today as they were 10 years ago…

  • Spend time on things you value
  • Tell friends you appreciate them and why
  • Get the “should out”, and the “can’t” too
  • Our thoughts are either handcuffs or springboards; take off the handcuffs
  • Choose your reaction to any situation
  • Do something (small) everyday that you love to do
  • Choose to be happy

Apparently I knew all this stuff 10 years ago.

So why am I still struggling with doing so many of them?    I am working on them more intentionally now in retirement.  I have spent time determining what I value.   I do reach out to friends more intentionally with appreciation.  I am intentionally making choices – to find joy in each day, to do things I want to do (not should do), to break through my barriers (release the handcuffs).

So no, the knowing hasn’t made the doing any easier. But I now have time to intentionally focus on the doing.  Maybe in another 10 years they won’t be a list of guidance, but a list of how I live life.


Picture Credit: Pixabay

My Blog is my Life Coach

I’ve recently announced to the world that I am a Certified Life Coach.   And what I have come to realize is my blog is my own Retirement Transition Life Coach!

My blogging has helped me reframe life satisfaction, explore what’s holding me back, kick-start habits.   I’ve explored many of life’s big arenas in my blog – working or not in this next life stage, connecting with others, what does our home mean, what is play. Like a good life coach, I identify my problem, ask myself open-ended questions to get to the root of it, and then create action plan steps. Writing the whole thing in a blog post.

Putting my next steps out in the world on my blog creates a sense of accountability! A key feature in good life coach is finding the accountability for the action plan. And putting it is writing is definitely accountability for me.

You, my blog friends, help me in both reading what I write (and often commenting!), but also in providing your own thoughts on similar topics. Reading other peoples blogs has inspired me, challenged my thinking, made me laugh, and helped create a feeling of community. I am not in this transition alone.

And so in keeping with Janis over at retirementallychallenged… this is my Gratitude Tuesday statement – I am grateful to be surrounded with inspiring beings.   The women and men I’ve “met” in the blog-o-sphere inspire me, validate me, and make me smile.


Picture Credit: Pixabay