What’s most exciting and fascinating to me now, is the realization that the new retirement is really about conducting the inner journey. We think of retirement as a stage of life that we ourselves are capable of redefining or reconstructing the days of our lives. But the more I work with people in transition, I realize it isn’t necessarily just about what the days and weeks look like, externally. It is much more important to discern what’s going on inside and how you actually feel about this life stage and therefore about you!
Exploring our past is a necessary act to perform at what is considered the “afternoon” of our lives, according to CGJung. Even if we are poised on the brink of reinventing ourselves for a new career or profession, we must take time to reflect on the past to learn what we have already accomplished. Learning to harvest your wisdom will help with whatever activities you are using to define your new retirement. Whether you are embracing a new means of self expression, launching a business, learning a trade or new language, traveling and appreciating friends and family, your new retirement deserves the wisdom of your experience. You will enjoy the journey to come so much more if you do.
The inner journey is about self reflection and self acceptance. We review events from our past through the lens of “what did I learn from this?” And when necessary we can identify and practice a life repair intervention, such as seeking forgiveness, writing a letter of apology, or performing some ritual to create closure. The lessons we have learned already, but now become conscious of, can continue to guide us as we become aware of a deeper source of wisdom and clarity from within. To successfully move into the new retirement we need to conduct this inventory, then move on and let go.
The process of life review allows us to deepen our understanding and our personal wisdom. I offer two tools, writing a Work Experience Autobiography or a Spiritual Autobiography to begin the journey into Creating your own Unique Retirement.