In the early days of the retirement journey I wake up to the traffic reports and realize that these reports are no longer a required part of the morning routine. Instead I listen to some classical music and relax as I enjoy my morning coffee without the rush of reaching the office in time for the first scheduled meeting. The gentle breeze moves cool air through the room. My cats come to snuggle and say good-morning in their unique ways with purring and gentle nibbles (cat kisses?). All is well in my world. There is finally time to consider how blessed I am to have this gift of time.
Enjoying these aspects of the day creates new gratitude for some the simple pleasures of life that are ignored during those busy days of commuting, worrying about the daily schedule, and facing the challenge of building a career. With that angst lifted, there is freedom. Freedom to enjoy whatever happens and to welcome each experience. Finally I have received the gift of time. Time to move into what William Brydges in his book Transitions calls the neutral zone and time to consider how life will evolve. Will I be able to create the postworksavvy that I am writing about on this blog?
Retirement brings new freedom. The gift of time and space to re-create the circumstances of life is precious. This is not a time to make too many plans nor to make significant life commitments. While it may look and feel like idleness, it is a time to consider existential questions and find new meaning and purpose without the identity of career or profession.
Experiencing the simple pleasures is one tactic to allow the brain to move into ‘neutral’ and allow the unconscious mind to work for you. This is the time to sit on the patio and listen to the birds. This is the time to languish in the morning sunshine, This is the time to allow the random thoughts and foolish ideas to flow. There is no agenda, no schedule, and no itinerary. It is ‘goof-off’ time!
Postworksavvy is acknowledgement of time to move into a new way of living. This is a time of recreation and a time of re-creation. There is a need for an amount of emptiness that comes from elimination of former routines. Personal growth and change happens when there is space. By leaving the routine of the morning commute and the office schedule, space is available. This space allows time to re-create your inner world. The existential questions that are bumping around in the unconscious mind are part of this re-creation as new meaning in life is established.
Retirement coaches state that they are often confronted with clients who have great difficulty shifting into the neutral zone. Books are filled with stories on longing to go back to the office, to go back to the predictability of the daily schedule and role identity of a profession or title. Postworksavvy acknowledges these difficulties and counsels shifting into the neutral zone to allow the re-creation of self, of relationships, and of routines. For some, there may be emptiness or a sense of great loss. For others, there is the elation of discovering new aspects of the self and new aspects of life. Whatever the outcome, this neutral zone is part of the journey.