Scary, exciting, unsettling? These are all common experiences when Baby Boomers start preparing for their next chapter ahead of retirement. Some literature on transitioning into retirement suggests that we start preparing for our new lives at least two years before we leave our full-time positions.
Fortunately, I did start planning my retirement about 16 months ago. In ten months, I will retire from my fourteen-year encore career as a full-time speech communication educator at a community college.
I started preparing by reading everything I could find on transitions and retirement life. I also worked on my own vision for my ideal life after teaching. I brainstormed, journaled, cut out pictures from magazines, and listed some of my strengths, experiences, personal limitations, and temperament (my temperament leans towards introversion). After a fair amount of work, I was able to develop a vision for my next chapter.
I will be operating a web-based business for Baby Boomers who are preparing for their own next chapters. Working with a gifted colleague and friend, we will share research about Boomers, offer workshops on how each individual can develop their best next chapters, and provide activities and other opportunities to keep engaged with a vibrant community. Eventually, we will offer our services to businesses that want to help employees transition into retirement.
I have a lot to learn about operating a business. I’m preparing by talking with people who have successfully operated businesses, and I am doing a lot of reading. I’ve also met with our local Small Business Development Center a few times.
I get a bit scared and excited when I think about the future that is starting to unfold. From all that I’ve read, I know this is normal. As the late Bill Bridges, author and consultant known for his work on transitions pointed out, the process is the same for all of us–we all go through endings, neutral periods, and new beginnings. Each transition phase has its own challenges. I’m ending something but have not yet started something new. How about you?
Do you anticipate a major transition in the near future? Or are you currently moving from one phase of your life to another? What have you learned in the process? What are your dreams for your next chapter?