– Guest post by Nisha

Many people work for thirty or forty years straight, looking forward to the day they can finally retire. What is surprising about this rite of passage is that the bliss that people expect to find when they finally retire can be somewhat elusive for people who have not prepared mentally for this major life transition. Talking to family members, experimenting with new lifestyle choices, finding a new purpose in life and nurturing important relationships outside of work can make the transition much easier.

1. Participate in a Trial Run

People who have big plans to make major lifestyle changes immediately after retirement should consider trying out the new lifestyle during vacations or on weekends. This type of “trial run” sheds a lot of light on how satisfying that lifestyle will be. It is so easy to believe to get caught up in hype about big adventures, but sometimes these dreams aren’t truly satisfying on a day-to-day basis.

Before selling the family home and buying a motorhome to travel the country, it would be a good idea to rent one and take several long trips to see how much you like living on the road. Will you miss your friends from home too much to enjoy yourself? How well do your pets travel? Does sitting that much appeal to you, or will you likely feel trapped to spend so much time in a motorhome? These are the types of questions that you can answer by taking the lifestyle out for a spin.

Many people decide to move after retirement, chasing better weather or a new way of life. Before taking the plunge and moving, it is recommended that people vacation several times to see if they really like the area enough to relocate. Extended vacations work best. Renting a house for a couple of months can really provide a realistic picture of an area that cannot be gotten during a week’s stay.

2. Nurture Key Relationships Outside of the Workplace

Loneliness is one major negative result of retirement for too many people. The best way to prepare for retirement is to start reaching out to friends outside of the workplace. Unfortunately, acquaintances formed on the job do not always transition well once you leave the office for good.

Having other common interests outside of work appears to forge a stronger bond between people. For this reason, it is a good idea to begin identifying hobbies and form new friendships that will survive retirement and serve to get your new life off to a good start. Committing to this type of exploration is highly recommended.

Talking to family members about your transition is a great way to figure out how you’ll manage all the extra time you will have on your hands. It is particularly critical that you discuss boundaries and expectation with your spouse or significant other. When old routines change, it can change the dynamics of the relationship. Many couples find it helpful to seek out counseling to help with this important transition.

3. Finding a New Purpose

Some people are lucky and have always known how they would spend free time. Devout hobbyists have an immediate focus for their golden years. For others, they must find a new purpose. After decades of commitment to a career and earning a living to prepare for retirement, many people aren’t sure what they want to do once they finally exit life as a breadwinner.

Exploring interests and hobbies to determine new life goals is a great way to get started. A return to childhood loves can provide the answer for some. Playing tennis or softball on a senior league is a real possibility for some. Other wannabe artists and writers have the perfect chance to revisit those loves and get more involved. For others, volunteering brings the type of rewards that retirees appreciate now that they finally have the time to reach out to others in a meaningful way.

Nisha represents a site called www.mha.org.uk

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