Estelle Rodis-Brown Posts
Why do some people thrive after retirement, while others seem to fade away?
The difference is often between those who continue to seek self-improvement with a sense of purpose and those who fall into a state of basic routine. The deciding factor in each pathway is one’s sense of self, otherwise known as self-image.
Who are You?
According to the Cleveland Clinic, self-image is the personal view — the mental picture — that you have of yourself. Self-image is your collection of your characteristics, how you describe yourself: intelligent, beautiful, ugly, talented, selfish, kind. These represent your assets (strengths) and liabilities (weaknesses) as you see them.
Self-image changes over time, affected by early childhood influences plus accumulated experiences with teachers, coaches, friends, family, coworkers and even strangers.
These relationships reinforce what you think and feel about yourself, for better or worse. Your sense of self is entangled with your sense of purpose, and both are shaken when children leave the nest, you lose a loved one or you face retirement.
A Retirement Roadmap
Dr. Dudley Tower is a human and organizational systems expert from the Dynamic Aging Institute, a nationally recognized program based in South Carolina. Tower says we live in an era of age-defying opportunities created by longer lifespans and delayed physical and mental decline.
Despite the apparent advantages of a longer, healthier life, many retired older adults are not motivated to pursue purpose in self-actualization or try to reach their full potential. Instead, some people spend retirement in a state of “mindless routine and busyness,” he says.
The problem is that retirement is unnatural, Tower says. The type of work you do should simply change, not stop. A growing population of older adults has retired around age 65 and now faces another 20 to 25 years of life expectancy.
Let Freedom Ring
Define Your Time
By Estelle Rodis-Brown
From the page of our nation’s Declaration of Independence to the pages of our lives, nothing’s quite so sweet as the intoxicating ring of freedom — the certain unalienable rights of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.
Yet, if you really think about it (or read the full Declaration), you must accept freedom from something before you can pursue freedom to something better.
After midlife, we experience a cascade of new freedoms, if we can see change in a positive light. Whether it’s a newly empty nest, the absence of a partner, retirement or downsizing, each change represents a freedom from old obligations and expectations. This opens up new possibilities: freedom.
Suddenly, you find yourself with time and space that you didn’t have before. Don’t fritter them away on daytime TV and falling into the same old ruts left over from that previous life. Instead, satisfy old longings you never gave yourself permission to pursue before. Join that class you were afraid someone else would think was silly. Take that trip you talked yourself out of before. Paint your living room that bold color you always wished you could. Reach out for better relationships. Because guess what? Now you can.
Big Changes, A Life Redefined
Perhaps no one better illustrates the dramatic before-and-after equation of life than Brenda Formberg of Ravenna.
When midlife hit Formberg, so did a slew of unwelcome changes: She divorced. Her daughter left for college. There was a second cancer diagnosis, job loss, and the resulting need to find a new home.
Her outlook seemed hopeless as pieces of her once-stable life fell apart. Eventually, Brenda emerged with renewed vigor for the pursuit of life, liberty and, yes, happiness....