Retirement Transition 2 Year Mark

An in-depth survey was recently published (Age Wave/Merrill Lynch) that identified a “2-year retirement transition” phase they called Liberation and Self-Discovery. Having just passed my 2-year mark, I felt encouraged to look back and see what I had accomplished, especially in relationship to the survey averages. I’m also stealing my review format from Mr. FireStation (I am a firm believer in steal & reapply); he used his life-wheel for his 6-week update. I’m using my 7 Domains of Life for this review.

A big part of my past 2 years was on Self-discovery. (Yeah, I’m matching a retirement survey results for once!) I left the work force earlier than anticipated with no future plan, except the financial one. I was a workaholic, well known for having “no life”. I spent time this past 2 years doing in-depth research on what is retirement and how to go about creating a retirement life plan – especially on the domains other than finances! I did self-discovery exercises on values, strengths and interests. I spent time on creating a life vision (writing, vision board, discussions with spouse). And then, I began activating the vision. Part of this work resulted in a Possibilities List of over 150 items. And some realization of what I truly need to be happy and fulfilled – a daily schedule (even if it says “afternoon reading on the couch”), some goals (weekly blog post, summer bucket list), and some new habit formation (work in progress on increasing activity!).

Here’s some of the things that I’ve done in each my 7 Life Domain:

• Work/Career – I struggled through the “work or not to work” question. It took awhile to really understand what needs work had provided to me (five needs work commonly provides: financial compensation, status & identity, achievement & utility, social affiliation, time management & structure), and which of those needs I still needed compensated-work to fulfill. This might change as retirement progresses, but right now I am working (very) part- time.
o The combination of forming my own consulting LLC and signing on with a few local consulting groups resulted in 5 small-scale projects this past year. I’ve also written a few blogs for one of these consulting groups, to help stimulate possible future project work.
o I became a certified Retirement Life Coach and began networking to create that business. I implemented a discussion series on retirement transition, as well as write this blog about the topic.
o Intentional Networking is a big part of this type of consulting/ coaching work! My goal is 10 networking connections per month and I am successful most months.

• Hobby/Leisure – This was the domain I needed to learn the most about! When it came to the work/life balance, I was an expert at “work”, but a beginner at “life”. Because of this high focus, this domain ended overlapping with a few others as I created my Out & About mantra – plans tend to include Be Active (Health/Wellbeing) and Relationships/Connections (Fun with Friends)
o Seasonal bucket lists have included mini road trips, museum visits, seasonal festivals, local theater & concerts, and other stay-cation type of activities. Some of the fun new things we did this year: Feast of Seven Fishes, Lego Art at the Museum Center, a Psychic Festival, and an FC soccer game.
o Move It plan: In my quest to be more active, I’ve committed to weekly Zumba, a weekly 4 mile park hike, and Beach Yoga when I’m in Florida. More is needed here, but this is a good start.
o My Foodie-wannabe implementation is multi-dimensional but includes regular visits to Jungle Jim’s (amazing food store about 25 miles from us), Cooking Boot Camp at the Mid-west Culinary Institute, and I started a Mid-week Foodie club to explore local restaurants.
o Play with Words – I found I love words. I’ve taken writing classes, regularly do crossword and (computer) scrabble, read (both learning focused and just for pleasure) and write (blogs as well as a draft book).
o Re-start Adventure Travel – this was an area I realized I missed. It’s been a slow start but we did a NOLA long weekend (planned and executed!). Also, every 2 months we take a mini-trip to Florida, where I am more active – walking, biking and SUPing.

• Relationships/Connection – I found it takes work to maintain and create new connections – so this is about being intentional. I regularly watch for possible events and reach out to friends to see if they are interested. I regularly send notes to meet up for coffee/happy hour/lunch/walks. I plan intentional time with hubby – for the first time in years I’m planning mid-week date nights – dinner and a show! I’ve recently established a new stretch goal in this space: I want to be invited to 4 pursuits/ connections per month by someone else. To me this would be an indication of having a created a 2-way connection (friendship).

• Location/Lifestyle – Part of our (hubby and me) life vision included getting clarity on how we want to live.
o We did compromise on location/house and have begun house shopping – we are “rightsizing locally”. Because of family commitments, we are in no rush, but it’s been fun to go explore new neighborhoods and refine what we really want in our next home. I’m calling it our 10-year home – a combination base camp (to allow us to travel more), food-focused entertainment center (to cook and have friends over when we are here), and storage facility (for hubby’s toys)

o Conscious De-cluttering – After reading about the KonMari de-cluttering methods, I attempted to implement. Files are still a work in progress, but you can actually walk into the office now. Clothes closets are somewhat better as I re-purposed some work clothes and got rid of lots more. This de-cluttering was followed by 4 months as a local Antique Dealer attempting to dispose of antique items. I learned that antiquing is not an area that turned into a passion!

• Self-development/Volunteering – Self-development right now is exploring different topics (My Possibilities List is brimming with ideas!) and seeing where my passion takes me. My focus here has been on Learning.
o First I researched retirement (including in-depth self-discovery) which morphed into boosting creativity (ex. The Artists Way) and then into Ego, Spirituality and Cognition exploration. This has been a fun series of explorations – a bit of learning for the sake of learning.
o I also took computer classes, pottery class, explored coloring books, and recently made a couple of purchases from The Great Courses.

• Health/Wellbeing – This area has not only been about getting more active (physical health – see Move It above) but also about spirituality exploration and emotional awareness. I am using many of the techniques I’ve learned in my retirement research and creativity exploration to create new habits and more emotional awareness. Daily journaling, weekly gratitude lists, use of affirmations, and mindfulness are all elements I am attempting to incorporate into my daily life.

• Finances/Planning – The Financial Plan (including the budget, insurance, and draw down plans) was the one area that was in place when I retired. Since then it has been more about creating a higher level of Financial Comfort with regular reviews. I am managing through the discomfort of not having a regular paycheck and the fears when the stock market goes mad or we wonder what the election will bring.

The term Self-Discovery & Liberation is very indicative of this past 2 years. I’ve learned a lot about myself as an individual and not just a “product development technologist”. Am I fully through the transition? Not sure. According to the survey, the next (quite long) phase is “Greater Freedom and New Choices”. I do feel a wonderful sense of freedom to choose what I want to do. So maybe I am through my transition…Hmm, will I need to rename my blog?

Picture Credit: Pixabay

12 thoughts on “Retirement Transition 2 Year Mark

  1. Hi Pat, wonderful…learning about yourself is fun and also scary….your review of yourself sounds  a bit like what I went thru, different caliber, but some the same… Since you are not sure where you are still headed, like most of us, maybe youcan call your blog……. retirement transition road……. for the new possibilities on the road ahead…. just a thought…. love yaLinda

    From: retirementtransition To: Sent: Friday, July 22, 2016 6:08 PM Subject: [New post] Retirement Transition 2 Year Mark #yiv7104052865 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv7104052865 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv7104052865 a.yiv7104052865primaryactionlink:link, #yiv7104052865 a.yiv7104052865primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv7104052865 a.yiv7104052865primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv7104052865 a.yiv7104052865primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv7104052865 | patwdoyle11 posted: “An in-depth survey was recently published (Age Wave/Merrill Lynch) that identified a “2-year retirement transition” phase they called Liberation and Self-Discovery. Having just passed my 2-year mark, I felt encouraged to look back and see what I had acco” | |

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    1. As this last week proved, I am still on the transition journey. Big step backward this week in new positive habits, but I’ll get back on the transition path. Love you too.


  2. Happy Retirement Anniversary, Pat! Thanks, as always, for sharing your experiences and reflections on the journey. You are way ahead of me, as I haven’t pushed off from the retirement pier yet. Your comments, and those of your followers who post comments, are inspiring and informative, though. I think I’ll rather enjoy following squirrels – literally and figuratively – and I know I’ll have a similar battle with choosing what I want to do, rather than what I think I “should” do. But I’m learning all sorts of things from you, such as what SUPing is. 🙂 Thanks again for not only gathering your thoughts, but so freely sharing them.


    1. As a good friend of mine said “stop should-ing on yourself”. I have found that I need to understand when the should statements are my own because they fit with my vision and when they are from someone else – even that voice in my head which is not my true self, but the inner critic voice. And if following squirrels fits your life vision and brings you joy…. follow some squirrels! In fact, I find when we are in Florida, I follow squirrels more often. And like it.


  3. It sounds like you are doing great! You are way more focused and intentional than I am! Although I am enjoying my two years + of retirement, I often think that I need to take better control of my time. I tend to see squirrels everywhere and therefore get distracted easily. I think I could use a organizer/scheduler 🙂

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    1. LOL…I see squirrels everywhere! Some days I do as well. But I do have an innate sense of organization – a skill I realize is not just work-driven. And this blog post definetly showcases it. My hubby thinks I am a bit much with my to-do lists, goal setting, calendars. He’s more than happy to see the squirrels. And that is why I am learning to love seeing them as well. And so sometimes the schedule gets tossed out the window. And it’s all good!

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  4. Hi Pat! I’ve been “off the grid” for a little while, and this is the first post I’ve read since returning, and what a great post it was! I’m a little bit ahead of you in the process, but I’ve found that we’ve been through very, very similar steps! I love how intentional you’ve been in researching and thinking through the process! I wish I’d known you when I first started! You are following an amazing path! The good news is that it becomes more and more comfortable as you go along!

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    1. There are a few folks I am following like you who are a “bit ahead” in the process…showing me the way…and I love you guys! Of course, this post completely shows the (geeky) researcher & organizer in me. Thanks for the encouragement…and the knowledge it will get more comfortable as I go.

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  5. How thorough you are. I have a lot in common with you in the sense that I retired earlier than expected and at the beginning of my second year I actually had to regroup and we refigure. I just started year 3 about 6 months ago and here I am readjusting again. I have to say, I’m happier this year than the other two because I’ve learned so much. I still am a work in progress but I I’m so happy in this phase of retirement. I’m not as disciplined as you as far as organizing my thoughts and goals, but I have continued to strive to find the right balance in my life. I think I’m doing a pretty good job if happiness and satisfaction is any indicator! Sounds like you are enjoying the journey!

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    1. One of the things I learned in self-discovery was my need of structure, process, and lists. It’s not work driven, it’s innate. And it shows up in this blog. The balance then is between structure and spontaneity, between activity and just being. Those are the tensions I seem to be working through now. But I agree with you, I am happier now than I have been for a very long time….and others have even noticed and commented. I too believe I am a work in progress!

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  6. You have done a heap in the last two years Patricia. I think it takes that long to gather your thoughts properly after such a busy working life. I wish I had your consistency – I’m finding it hard to focus on any one thing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maddy, I am so not focused on one thing! Sometimes I feel pulled in many directions. But I am a list maker, a goal setter, and a planner by nature. That innate organization skill shows up in this blog. And yes, it’s taken awhile to gather the thoughts and really say these are things I want to do….not things other people think I should do! Still working on that element (the feeling I need to meet others expectations). And working on the balance of structured to do lists and just being. Definitely a “work in progress”.

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