July 9, 2022
Dr. Riley Moynes outlined the four phases of retirement in a TEDx Surrey speech.
The four phases are:
1. Vacation phase
2. Feeling loss and lost
3. Trial and error – how to make life meaningful?
4. Your purpose and your mission
i have been retired for a few years now. My progress through the phases has followed Dr. Moynes’ outline.
When i first retired it was absolutely a vacation. There was no morning alarm. i did what i wanted or nothing at all.i told my friend who was just retired:
“I did not bring you a gold watch to celebrate your retirement. I did bring you some of my sage advice:
You aren’t going to need a watch.”
The most difficult task i had in phase one was redirecting my clients to other consultants. My clients were also my friends. It was difficult to let them go.
Like all vacations they ultimately end in home sickness. In the middle of past vacations i started to yearn for a return to work. When traveling i missed the sounds of my neighborhood at home. In my retirement vacation i started to miss my clients. Our retirement home is in the country where silence is the biggest noise. i missed the buzz of the city (only a little).
Reluctantly, i entered into phase two.
i felt the loss of friends both from work and from my move to a rural, remote area.
i missed the full calendar and felt aimless in the wilderness of my retirement.
i began to wonder what i was going to do with myself in the last third of my life. It is this wonder that led me to phase three.
What would i do to make my life meaningful again?
i reached out to neighbors with the idea of making new friends. Maybe we would embark on adventures of their interests.
In phase three i decided to write a book of skydiving short stories and maybe another one based on some of the lessons from this bLog.
i joined a writers group to polish my writing skills.
Thankfully, my wife Paula and i have been avid skydivers for 35 years. It is a passion that has not stopped with retirement. In fact, it is something that we have embraced with a new fervor. A thing on our bucket list is to skydive in all 50 US states. We have jumped in 35 so far. There is no reason to stop with this quest.
Paula volunteers at the skydiving center teaching new jumpers skills and best practices. She is already in phase four.
i, too, have entered phase four.
Conversations with my new friends are often challenging and enlightening. Maybe we will form a group like some of Dr. Moynes’ friends. Four of his friends attend farmers markets, flea markets and craft shows with an Easy-Up, table and chairs. There is a sign out front that says, “OLD COOTS GIVING ADVICE. I’S PROBABLY BAD ADVICE, BUT IT’S FREE.”
They sit for hours answering questions from their life experiences. It is a very satisfying way to pass their time.
My book of short stories is almost written. i hope to share it on Amazon in the near future.
Meanwhile, it is fun for me to spend hours editing and rewriting the stories.
Paula and i plan our RV trips around the remaining states we want to jump. It is not just a goal to skydive in all 50 states, but a reason to visit all 50 states.
If you are retired, you too will experience all four phases.
Enjoy the vacation phase. Some of it will stay with you throughout retirement. i still have no alarm.
Push through the phase of loss. You have your memories and you have your dreams.
Dig deep into the planning phase. Embrace the trial and error of discovering your muse.
Ride phase four for all it is worth. Your purpose and mission might be a bucking bronco, but it will be the ride of your life.