Thoughts from a therapist
By Steven V. Dubin
In last month’s edition of South Shore Senior News, we launched this column called “Retirement Dreams or Nightmares?”—This month I checked in with a trusted source who takes a view of the much bigger picture of retirement.
Retirement and aging are about “loss,” noted Bob Remillard, 72, a Plymouth-based Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker with over 35 years of experience in mental health. Bob specializes in working with people over the age of 60.
That “loss,” among other things, can include the job that brought self-esteem, diminished physical and mental health or mobility, and the death of loved ones.
So, given that cheery premise, how do we create a happy retirement?
Retirement can strip you of something more important than a paycheck. It can remove an important part of your identity and self-esteem.
Remillard gave an example of a physician who missed having people call him doctor. The policeman who felt he could no longer intervene to manage a dispute. How do you replace that?
The challenge is to feel useful—especially to people under the age of 60. Are you willing to explore new ways to find relevance and happiness? Are you waiting to die? Or yearning to learn or try something new?
Replacing work with toys is rarely the answer. A new boat, a fast car or even a geographic relocation are probably empty attempts.
What does tend to bring contentment? Staying physically active—walk, bike, swim, play Pickleball (or Bob’s favorite—ping pong). You probably have aches and pains anyway; why not exert yourself and have a story to tell about it?
Maintain brain function by reading or participating in the arts via music and theater. Avoid too much passive entertainment and isolation through television. Get out to community events (celebrations, seminars, parades, sporting events). Cultivate friendships. Men, what a surprise, tend to be lone wolves. Having someone to talk with who will share your triumphs and despairs is important.
The traditional sense of retirement has shifted. Bingo by the pool is not the fate or desire of the majority. Taking on the parenting role of grandkids, caretaking of mom, mentoring the young, working or volunteering part-time—these are more common scenarios.
Retirement is one of life’s stages. What is your role?
I look forward to hearing from you, our readers! Please email me at SDubin@PRWorkZone.com
Steven V. Dubin is the founder of PR Works. Steve lives in Plymouth with his wife Wendy. He is a contributing author to “Get Slightly Famous” and “Tricks of the Trade,” the complete guide to succeeding in the advice business. He recently authored “PR 101,” an E-book.