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Gerardo Castrillo Ceballos, Professor of the School of Education and Psychology of the University of Navarra
Retiring from work, not from life
The term "retirement" comes from the Latin iubilatio (jubilation). Jubilation is an outward expression of a very intense joy after the cessation of work for reasons of age. This initial joy can be maintained or it can disappear; it depends on how each person approaches the new stage of his or her life. Having much more time than before brings new opportunities, but also some risks.
Retirement is a drastic change in the way of life that requires a period of adaptation and readjustment, especially for those who in the past focused their lives on the professional work , incurring, in some cases, in activism or professionalism. People who lived to work adapt less well to retirement than those who worked to live.
Going directly from having a very active life, with fixed schedules, to being freed from work obligations, is a difficult contrast to assimilate. Professionals who did not plan ahead for this new status or who are not prepared to take it on are often bewildered; they suddenly find themselves with a huge void that they do not know how to fill. A typical question asked to oneself: "What do I do now?". Not finding a good answer soon is often embarrassing. "I've retired, but if there's one thing that would kill me, it's waking up in the morning not knowing what I'm going to do" (Nelson Mandela).
The risk of suffering emotional disorders is higher in the first year of retirement, decreasing as people adapt to the new status and opt for an active retirement. This achievement is a matter of attitude, of being mentally prepared to take this step, seeing it as another stage of life that has a reason for being and many possibilities for those who want and know how to take advantage of them, including doing interesting and enjoyable things that we could not do in the past due to lack of time.
We do not financial aid the well-known cliché that retirement is a time of unlimited rest, typical of those who become part of the formerly called "passive classes". This cliché explains why there are retirees who spend many hours every day at cafeteria "killing time". They are those who have decided to dedicate themselves only to rest ("I've deserved it"). In this way they bury their talent and squander the experience and wisdom acquired over the years; moreover, continued idleness generates boredom and sadness, which are the antithesis of joy.
It is not infrequent that, after the moment of retirement of a professional work , people give up all subject responsibilities (family and social), to maintain cultural subject concerns and to continue learning; retirement is seen as an almost total liberation from duties, as a permissive period. This attitude accelerates the aging process. "Old age is almost only the loss of curiosity." (Azorín).
One retires from his professional work , but not from life (from living actively as a member of a family, as a citizen, as a friend, as a Christian, etc.).
We must be sympathetic to retirees who, because of their age, are losing report . Forges refers to this in one of his vignettes:
A retired man, very burdened by the loss of report , confesses to a friend:
"I don't agreement if I have dentist at 12 and then psychologist, pilates and tai chi, or take the car to the garage, class salsa, floral art, urologist and crafts."
-You should retire from retirement, I suggest.
What is advisable for a successful and happy retirement? I suggest some keys.
-Prepare it with time and think about what activities we would like to do, and even try them out.
-Matching expectations to reality. A common mistake is to have an idealized image of retirement. When expectations are not met, frustration sets in. It is good to talk to experienced retirees to get a more realistic perspective.
-Drawing on personal skills and hobbies from the past, adapting them to the present time. It includes making knowledge acquired during working life available to others.
-Keep physically and mentally active (go to a gym, read, etc.) Do not stay at home and do nothing. Avoid sedentary and isolated life. Meet daily with friends to talk and walk.
-To be informed of what is happening in the world.
-Doing family life, especially with nieces, nephews and grandchildren. To have the illusion of being a good grandparent.
subject of volunteer activities (nursing homes, food bank, etc.).
Retirees often receive multiple requests for partnership because they have a lot of time on their hands. For that reason their time is reduced. "The problem with retirement is that you never have a day off" (Abe Limones). However, is it not preferable to err on the side of selfless activism rather than selfish idleness?