By Karen and Erica
Though we hadn’t given much thought to retirement, we understood that our first day was supposed to be--and feel--fabulous. We were free to do whatever we wanted to do, whenever we wanted to do it. No place we had to be. No phone calls to return or meetings to attend. No urgent needs or expectations. No gearing up for a day filled with decisions and revisions and stress and drama.
And the first days were just great. But for us, after a while, not working wasn’t nirvana at all. Instead of freedom, there was a void. Instead of being relaxed, we were restless. Not perhaps surprising, but not anticipated either. Disconcerting. Embarrassing.
When we were working, we barely looked at a clock, and before we knew it the day was over. Now that we were not working, we found ourselves glancing at the time all day long as we cleaned closets, did some retail therapy, organized papers, exercised more regularly--and the days stretched out endlessly.
Then there was our identity. We had identified ourselves as independent career women. Now that we weren't, who were we? What was our purpose? What was next?
That initial period of dislocation passes, though, especially if you can commiserate with others in the same boat. Now that we have been retired for a bit, we realize how important it was to be able to talk about our fears and frustrations, as well as our hopes and dreams for the future. We now know that it takes some time to move on from attachment to careers and jobs, time during which the future begins to take shape.
And now we know that the future, for us, needs to involve purpose. We will always be working girls in one way or another. We love the independence. We love the sense of accomplishment. We love the energy and effort that having goals requires.
It took time to find a new purpose, something we could be passionate about. But we kept talking, and moving forward, and recalibrating, and we are on the road to exactly that. We still have a lot to learn, but that's half the fun.