When It’s Time to Reassess

A man considering retirement coaching called to discuss his situation.  He and his wife had been teachers and retired in their 50’s.  For twelve years they had lived “the good life” criss-crossing the USA in their RV, traveling abroad, volunteering and spending time with their grandchildren.  Despite it looking like their lives were perfect, they had been looking at one another with the question so perfectly expressed in the Peggy Lee song “Is That All There Is?”

He mentioned how his wife felt embarrassed to even share this feeling with anyone.  How dare she say she wasn’t completely happy while others have so many difficulties?  She believed she didn’t have the right to be dissatisfied with her life. What they didn’t realize was how necessary it is to periodically reassess their lives.  Given they weren’t happy and didn’t know why, it is very important to take time and delve into who they are and what they want in their lives NOW.

Whether your friends, your parents or you are looking toward “retirement” it can seem like an unchanging, foggy, large chunk of time. Since the “next chapter of life” may last 5—35+ years, it is a mistake to think that we won’t change and won’t need new challenges or experiences. In reality, it is normal to have many changes in our attitudes, bodies, minds, emotions, finances and spirit at different points in our lives, and these many aspects continue to change in the “next chapter.”   If we expect to stay the same, if we stop growing, if we stop having things to look forward to in the future, we become stuck, resentful and possibly depressed.  We can often spend a great amount of time living in the past instead of being engaged in the present and anticipating the future.  When I hear people describe themselves as “retired teachers”, “retired executives”, “retired business people”, I find myself wondering “Who are you now?  Have you created a new identity for the present ‘You’?  How would you describe your new identity?”  In many cases they haven’t developed a new identity and don’t know where to begin.

No matter what your age is, it becomes important, every few years, to stop and consider how you’ve changed and what you might want to do differently going forward.  We can fall into ruts and not venture out of our comfort zones because they’re so familiar, when it’s actually time to stretch, learn new things and have fresh, exciting experiences.

Perhaps you’re very busy volunteering and yet feel bored.  Maybe it’s time to shake things up and try something new.  Explore freshly discovered organizations or causes that you believe in and want to be a part of or develop new skills that you’ve thought about but haven’t yet done, like learning to speak conversational French.  I spoke with a friend who had always wanted to learn to play the piano. She recently bought one, is taking lessons and having a great time.

Perhaps you have an enjoyable job, you’re occasionally traveling and have interesting hobbies or activities.  Maybe you’re also sensing that it’s time to develop a more introspective aspect of yourself.  That is something that people may want to do in preparation for the “next chapter”, yet feel compelled in our youth and action-oriented society to continue being busy all the time. You might decide to enroll in a yoga or T’ai Chi class to increase your core strength and concentration or join a writing group for guidance in writing personal essays or your life story, which can be an aspect of leaving a legacy for your family.

Regardless of what stage of life you are in, have you been doing the same things for a long time?  Is it time for you to clarify what is satisfying and what isn’t?

Now is the time to reassess!

Do you want support in reassessing where you are in life? Let’s talk.

Lorrie’s Learnings is a monthly e-article which shares my awarenesses, learnings, contemplations and anything else that comes to the mind of this life coach! Let me know the articles that give you new perspectives/thoughts/feelings, confirm what you’ve been thinking or move you into action. To receive Lorrie’s Learnings straight to your email inbox, click here!