When I tell people I’m retiring the end of this year, the most common reaction has been “what will you DO”? And no wonder. The word itself sounds dreadful. Re-tire. Become tired again? Here’s a dictionary definition: to withdraw from office, business or active life, usually because of age. Oh dear.
I recall reading Erik Erikson’s book “Childhood and Society” in college. He describes the eight stages of psychosocial personality development. As I remembered it, I would be entering the ‘generativity versus stagnation’ stage, during which energies focus on future generations and contributions to the world. My memory check, via the internet, sure burst THAT bubble. Instead, I learned that I am rapidly approaching the ‘ego integrity versus despair’ stage, which extends from age 65 to death. How encouraging. And it gets even better. During this stage all you do is look back on your life, and are either happy with what you have accomplished, or are cranky and bitter. Hmmm, ol’ Erik lived to be 92. I wonder if HE spent 27 years sitting around contemplating the prior 65? Darn, guess Erik is not going to help me define retirement more positively.
I think I need a new word. There are so many other ‘re’ words that I like better: reinvent, reconnect, renew, recharge, rejoice.
So maybe that’s what I’ll be doing: I’ll be reinventing myself, while I reconnect with important people in my life, recharge my batteries, renew interests that were neglected because of lack of time. Best of all, I plan on rejoicing in my new-found freedom!