Most of us have a pretty clear idea of who we are. Or at least we know who we’ve been for a really long time now. But once retired, it’s not quite so easy to define who we are. Given the sheer number of years we spend in the labour force, many of us find that our work becomes ingrained in how we identify ourselves. In fact, the more we embrace our corporate culture, the more that culture defines not just what we do, but also who we are. If our corporate self is the main pillar of our identity, it follows then that retiring can leave us wondering who we are when our job no longer fills that role. The anxiety that wells up from these unknowns is uncomfortable and we push them out of our thoughts to be dealt with later. Well, later is coming, and who are you anyway, when you shed your corporate identity?
Who Are You Now?
Writer, nurse, plumber, teacher, banker… It is highly likely that if asked to describe yourself before retirement, many of the words you choose would be related to your professional life. Since you can’t take your corporate identity with you into retirement, it can be stressful to imagine a life where these adjectives no longer truly describe you. A successful shift into retirement mode, calls on us to let go of our old self-concept and take on a new identity. It’s a time to disengage from how we used to see ourselves and envision something new.
As you retire from your corporate self, you have the wonderful opportunity to reinvent yourself. It is time to look beyond your work and come to a deeper understanding of your intrinsic value. It is time to dig deeply and start to address the question that asks, “Who am I?””
Tips For Redefining Yourself
Time spent discovering what gives your life meaning, what matters to you most, and what drives you, is an ideal starting point. The more you make choices based on your core values, the more likely it is that you will feel a sense of satisfaction with yourself.
Consider the following as you work towards creating a new definition of you.
Discover your core values – the ones that drive everything you do
- Step out of your comfort zone and try something new– that’s where the magic happens
- List what you love most and do more of those things
- Pursue a passion – a new one or an old one
- Meet new people
- Discover which activities are fulfilling for you
- What do you want more of/less of in your life?
- Find a worthy cause that you truly believe in
Take the time before you retire to understand the person you are becoming and where you find satisfaction in life outside of your work. Beware of falling into the mindset that you’re “too old” to change. Quite the opposite, with more time on your hands, this is the ideal time to focus on yourself. Retirement is the perfect opportunity to become who you’ve always wanted to be!