Preparing for Retirement Emotionally

Preparing for Retirement Emotionally

Image for Chapter 2 Coaching Preparing for Retirement Emotionally Blog Post

As a retirement coach, I try very hard to practice what I preach. I’ve recently been studying my own optimum retirement plan and noticed that a lot of my emotional energy has been devoted to my career. So, how do I re-balance my emotional retirement portfolio? How do I begin to transition my focus to other areas now so that I can feel energized from multiple sources?

This is my time to experiment.  To try different things, to see what fits me.  One of my answers came in the shape of a boat.  A kayak to be specific. I knew that the recreation/fitness category of my emotional retirement portfolio was going to be a challenge (even though I do work out.) I wanted something to do that would be physically engaging and fun (working out is not fun…. to me.)

I tried kayaking.  I love it.  It’s physical, it’s meditative, it gets me outside and engaged in nature.  And, like a lot of the things I experience in life, it’s a metaphor for so much more.

The Transition Is a Journey

Retirement planning is very much like kayaking.  You need both oars in the water.  Yes, it is possible to use one oar.  Hopefully, you’ll get to where you want to go … eventually, but it’s going to be a lot harder. If you’re not really experienced (and let’s face it, this retirement project is a new, EMOTIONAL one), you’re just going to be going in circles … a lot.

With two oars in, you get to gauge how fast or how slow you want to go and where you ultimately want to wind up.  Emotionally planning or adjusting to retirement is a journey, and a lot of getting to the destination is about looking around and prioritizing what’s important to you.  Do you need to take it slow and check out the scenery, see what other successful kayakers are doing or, is it more important to plot the course with small, attainable destinations that will lead you to the next loop of the journey?

You can only float for so long.  Floating can get boring; you can get stiff and lose your nerve to try new things.  Pretty soon you’re floating in the same familiar scenes and the excitement of challenging yourself can be replaced with playing small and familiar and safe.

No matter what age we are, we continue to need to grow and unfold.  We always need to build.  The waters of retirement come with many challenges and navigating with two oars builds strength and resiliency.

So, where are the gaps in your non-financial retirement plan? Where do you need to build some muscle in order to create a well-rounded, joyful journey filled with exciting destinations, calm waters, and new self-discoveries?  You need to be two oars in.

If you’re struggling emotionally with retirement, I can help you create a blueprint for your life that is exciting, meaningful and rewarding. Let’s get started on your next chapter.



My grandmother was a very powerful woman. She was probably the most influential person I have ever known to this day and profoundly affected everyone in our family, even the generations who never go to know her the way that I did because some of her vibrancy had faded in her latter years. She even impacted people who had never met her because she was so much fun to talk about and her life and quotes have become folklore.  She died when she was 99, fully intact mentally (and I do mean fully) and I was almost 50 when she passed so she and I had a long, glorious run which I am in immense gratitude for.

One blogpost about her is impossible and I will be writing about her often but today what comes to mind is that her fire never went out.  To her last breath, she was a spitfire but one of her favorite lines and one which everyone quotes is “old age; it’s a monster.”  For her, it was because she was so full of hell.  She saw the world and her life as full of possibilities.  There was always more to be gleaned from life: more jobs to learn, more meals to cook, more places to see, more job opportunities to be had.

She never got old, in her heart and in her mind but her body couldn’t keep up with that imp spirit and she bemoaned that.  That was her monster. She had many, many adversities throughout the course of her life but she was smart, full of ideas, fearless and tenacious.  She truly believed there was nothing she couldn’t do and that is how she lived her life.

She was an incredible role model, at any age but now that I am in an older chapter of my years I find myself increasingly inspired by that spirit.  We can take VERY good care of ourselves and persevere in keeping or bodies as primed as possible but we’re still going getting older and need to acclimate and accommodate an ever-changing body.

We will all have to make peace with the monster but that doesn’t mean that our spirit or joy for life, sense of adventure and wonder has to be diminished.  Learning to find some comfort with change is really important, as well as staying present and creating a life that really pleases you.