After working for several decades, many of us look forward to our retirement. It’s an opportunity to change direction, start something new, live in a different place, revisit, or start new projects and hobbies, invest more time with family and friends, pursue lifestyle and fitness activities, and reconnect with the community. Planning when and how we will voluntarily exit the workforce for this very different phase in life makes it easier to make the transition, develop new routines and strive for new kinds of fulfilment.
But sometimes things don’t work out as we had planned. Life is full of surprises, circumstances may change, and while some may embrace the idea of exiting the workplace earlier than planned, for others, unanticipated early retirement may be a painful reality. Common triggers for unanticipated early retirement may be: –
- Personal ill-health
- Supporting an unwell family member (spouse, elderly parents, adult children, caring for grandchildren)
- An unsustainable business, demanding role, or unfulfilling work
- A hostile work environment
These situations are all stressful and increase the risk of isolation, anxiety, and depression. Don’t suffer in silence. The important thing is to recognise when you need help. Be proactive and seek as much support as possible from the appropriate people. You may need medical, legal, financial advice, and support from a range of social service providers, which may include counselling. Talk things over with loved ones and close friends. Sharing the load will help you to access the practical support required to deal with the challenges you may face, minimise the angst, and feel part of a supportive caring community. Assistance is just a phone call, or a mouse click away. Be informed, ask questions, tap into the help that’s available and try to be optimistic.
If your circumstances have suddenly changed, you never have to go it alone. Don’t delay, take the initiative and plan for a new way of living for the foreseeable future.