Retirement and the Places You’ll Go

Previously published on Insights. By Dr. Bartolomé Freire, retired psychiatrist and author of the book: Retirement, a New Opportunity (La jubilación, una nueva oportunidad), where he details how we can prepare for the life change of retirement and identifies the main adaption strategies seen post-work.

Even in times of difficulty – or perhaps particularly so – we can find spaces of opportunity. The pandemic is the example that comes straight to mind these days, with many people taking advantage, when their health and situation allows it, to use the downtime of quarantines and travel restrictions to learn new skills, practice new hobbies, spend time with their families, and more. In some ways, this is similar to another experience that many people confront in their later life. The period of a person’s life that we call “retirement,” while it is often – but not always – anticipated with excitement or even relief causes a sudden interruption to life’s usual structure which in turn deprives us of important references that make up our personal identity. It is important and obvious to point out that retirement (as opposed to the pandemic) can, in most cases, be planned for in advance, yet the disruption can still be jarring. Work loses part of its importance and retirement puts us in uncharted territory, isolated, insecure, and without a sense of purpose. Retirement can – like the pandemic has – generate doubts about the future and cause feelings of stress and fear.

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