October 24, 2023

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Emotionally Preparing for Retirement

 
Gordon Graham
Category: Public Safety

Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Today’s Tip is for all my friends in public safety, and it deals with emotionally preparing for retirement.  

Retirement might initially seem like you’re escaping from the daily grind. But this sense of relief can be short-lived.

Retirement is a richly deserved reward for years of hard work, dedication, and sacrifice. Most of us will spend a lot of time thinking about the logistics of retirement — downsizing, relocating, getting our finances in order. But have you thought about how life-changing retirement will be – and how you might react to it emotionally? 

Retirement might initially seem like you’re escaping from the daily grind. But this sense of relief can be short-lived. The novelty of being on a “permanent vacation” fades.  

In public safety, many retirees feel like they’ve lost their identity. As the saying goes, “45 minutes out the door and you don’t matter anymore.” Instead of feeling free and fulfilled, you might feel bored, unimportant, and isolated. 

What can you do to prepare for this? Start anticipating and preparing now. Explore opportunities to broaden your social network so you have support outside the workplace. As you near retirement, make plans to stay in contact with work colleagues, especially fellow retirees.  

Now is also a good time to explore physical activities that can serve you well in retirement. Take up a new hobby such as golf or racquetball. Go hiking or mountain biking with your spouse or a friend. You may not be able to do these things frequently while you’re still employed. But trying them now will give you ideas of what you can do when you’re no longer working.  

Finally, and this is really important, foster an identity that goes beyond your role in public safety. Set new goals to achieve. Consider where you might work part-time or volunteer after retirement. Take some classes and learn something new.  

Retirement should be a journey, not a destination. Give yourself the grace to expect an emotional response. That’s the first step to experiencing a healthy, happy retirement. 

And that’s Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Until next time, Gordon Graham signing off.  

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