I am a Certified Professional Retirement Coach. I am also a retiree. As I talk with friends and clients, I hear a variety of experiences of retirement. We all eventually settle into a new routine and some of us even become happy with it. But, it turns out the first couple of years of retirement (after the honeymoon period) are very difficult for those of us who have thrived on and were proud of our work and accomplishments. So I created a free workshop to help. It is called “What’s the SHAPE of Your Retirement Plan?” SHAPE in this case is an acronym and in this series of several blog posts, I’ll talk about the SHAPE of my retirement. I hope it helps.
S is for Social:
Three months after I retired, I moved to Chicago to be close to my daughter and her family. The only person I knew in my new city, other than my daughter and son-in-law, was the real estate agent who helped me find my condo. I had left behind all my friends and colleagues and I was feeling lonely. Like most people, I had taken for granted my daily interactions with the folks in the office and around the campus where I worked and the friends I had known for years. Now, I missed those interactions, our “conferences” each morning with Keri, dinners at the Indian restaurant with Ron and the movies with Dianne…
The lonely feeling could easily become overwhelming and cause one to sink further into the cocoon of one’s home. Thankfully, in my case instead of this feeling turning into a depressive mood, it manifested itself as boredom. So I looked for volunteer opportunities and started “working” at Dress for Success. I know many retirees who volunteer to give back but the social aspect of volunteerism should not be discounted either.
I also joined TTN (The Transition Network), which is an organization for women over 50. At first my motivation was to find clients for my coaching business, but I found wonderful new friends instead and I can’t be happier. TTN is a national network of accomplished women and has many interest groups as well as social and learning opportunities.
Organized groups and organizations need not be the only way to meet new friends and enrich your social life. A group of friends I now cherish came into my life totally serendipitously. As I waited for the train to take me to the Women’s March in January 2017, I met this woman who was also going to the march. She kindly invited me to join her group of friends since I was going to be alone at the march. We have been friends since and have enjoyed many fun times together. Our Saturday evening zoom meetings during the Covid lockdown were few social events we all looked forward to when the world seemed to have shut down.
My realtor Lin (who has since become a good friend too) and I are still in touch both for personal and business purposes since I have invested in real estate and own a small company that has a few rental properties.
I would not classify myself as an outgoing person. I am more of the shy/reserved type. Forcing myself to be open to new connections has made the difference between sitting in front of my TV by myself and having an active social life and enjoying the company of wonderful people. Even if the original intention was for professional reasons, I wouldn’t exchange any of my new friends for clients. As for my old friends that I left behind in Indiana, those are lifelong friends. Even if we don’t see each other often, we pick up where we left off whenever we can.
Social side of retirement is extremely important for our health and well being. Circumstances, towns, conditions may change, but it’s always possible to make new connections and explore new friendships. I wish you a happy and healthy social life!
Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, if you’d like to join the “What’s the SHAPE of Your Retirement Plan?” workshop. Next one will be on September 24th.