The new “normal”

“I thought being retired would be great. But I can’t tell you how much I miss work.”

Does this sound like you? Some people slip effortlessly in to retirement. Others experience “retirement remorse.” If you’re unhappy not working take heart. What you are missing may not be work but something else.

Establishing a new” normal” in retirement is important but may be more elusive than you thought it would be. Many baby boomers struggle with lack of structure. You’ve spent decades getting up at a specific time to get to work. Now, you can sleep until noon if you would like. But should you?

Routines and structure provide focus and balance in our lives. We know where we have to be and what we have to do. By all means, take a “vacation” the first few weeks or months of your retirement. But know that unlimited time off can be disorienting. Establish new bed times and times to wake up help establish a rhythm in your life.

If multiple circumstances in your life are in flux, lack of structure can be debilitating. My husband, Chris, and I are dealing with “every day is a new ‘normal’” with my Dad. His fluctuating mental state means that some days our plans go right out the window. While on other days when his cognition is better, plans go smoothly. Constantly having to adapt to new circumstances is stressful. But over time we are getting used to being flexible and adapting. We both have come to realize how we took certainty in our lives for granted.

Most baby boomers I interviewed agreed that the first two years of not working could be rough. However, by the third year things were settling down and life was returning to “normal” whatever that may be.

Kathryn Avery

About Kathryn Avery

When Kathryn Severns Avery’s husband, Chris, began contemplating retirement in 2014, she knew they had to quickly come up with a multi-faceted plan. They spent the next year discussing, sometimes heatedly, what they would do once he stopped working. On paper their plan looked exciting. They would head from Colorado to the 1891 sea captain’s house they bought and renovated in Rockland on Maine’s midcoast. But the reality of planning and implementing retirement was much different than expected. Kathryn has worked in radio, television, marketing, and public relations. She is the author of five books and has written articles on interior design and crafts for national and regional publications including Romantic Homes, Log Homes Illustrated, The Rocky Mountain News and Colorado Homes and Lifestyles.