Retirement is from work, not life

COPING

October 22, 1991|By Barbara Turk, M.S.

It's on its way -- the big "R," retirement. You have mixed feelings: You've been working a long time, and sometimes, now, it's a drag. Yet you're unsure about retirement because it feels as if you're being turned out to pasture, where it's all downhill from there. Sure, they tell you that you can make it great by doing all the things you've never had time to do before. But, somehow, that doesn't make it OK. You're just not comfortable with the idea of being retired.

Maybe the word retire is getting in your way. Retire indicates withdrawal, as in going to bed, putting to rest. You may be viewing retirement not as withdrawal from work, but as withdrawal from life.

To deal with your retirement in a positive way, change your viewpoint:

* Decide that you are withdrawing from work -- not life. Being turned out to pasture can provide you (if you let it) with much green grass to chew on.

* Recognize that the downhill difficulties of aging will happen if and when they are going to, whether you are working or leading a productive retirement.

And remember, you've spent a lot of your life working. Don't you deserve a little green grass now?

Barbara Turk is a psychotherapist in private practice.

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