Adjustments Experienced Since Retirement

Aug 6th, 2009 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Unquestionably there are numerous adjustments required of the retiree going into retirement.  Seminars, free input from friends who have already done it, books, how to and what not to do guides, do it yourself counsel, on and on offer advice on those adjustments.  

 Now that several years have passed and the real impact of being retired has settled in upon you, what adjustments have been necessary, required, imposed?  At first, with healthy retirement finances in a fairly good place, all seems somewhat like green lights ahead. Perhaps you have remained in a familiar location or chosen to move elsewhere, as to a “retirement community.” Maybe you have chosen wanderlust and have travelled all over the country or world. 

Along the way regular medical checkups have indicated a fairly good report.  Maybe a sign here or a warning there, but nothing too serious. 

If you have chosen to stay in your lifelong home, you have been able, up to a point, to manage yard upkeep and various, not too demanding, repair and maintenance issues.  When it comes to the larger demands, finances have been such that hiring it done has been possible.

A while back some darkening clouds seemed to have gathered.  Financial forecasts were more and more foreboding.  Savings and IRAs and other nest eggs were suddenly less secure and more threatened.  A trip planned abroad had to be cancelled.  That new furniture for the den had to be put off.  Trading for a new car seemed out of the picture.

In the meantime, a routine visit to your physician revealed some troubling indicators.  A biopsy would be required.  It revealed a serious invasion of cancer in the prostate and radical surgery would be required ASAP.  No “wait and see,” no heroic treatments, no experimental drugs, just get it out.  Within one month, at almost 70, your life had suddenly experienced a catastrophic shift. After several months of recovery, and some slow healing and adjusting, things began to seem to come back to a modicum of normalcy.

What had happened, however, was a 7 or 8 on the Richter scale of emotional and physical earthquakes.  Things formerly taken for granted, energy once presumed, stamina easily called upon were no longer in reserve.  At first a walker was required.  Some energy returned, but slowly.  Little to no sexual interest or desire remained.  Some incontinence prevailed.

In short, while those who count were 101% in your corner, the discovery of the changes in  physique,  gained weight,  and psyche, no longer the same human being, began to show themselves.

Increasingly, the “hermit” syndrome takes over.  Less and less interest and involvement in social outings, in group gatherings, in interaction seems to be the norm now.  Hiding behind your own despair and depression, you find all kinds of excuses to avoid others. Sometimes the bottle seems to be a pleasant companion.  Soon, that is recognized to be the dead end it is.

Now, the crossroads is right in front of you.  How long will you allow these adjustments to hold you hostage.  When will you take charge again?  What will be required to take up the next life journey?  How will you squeeze meaning and satisfaction out of what is left?   

This is only one scenario of adjustments experienced in retirement.  Some accounts are far more threatening and discomfiting.  Others are serene and tranquil, carrying the prospect of happy days and restful nights.  Retirement is full of wonders, joys and unexpected rewards.  It can also bring with it a sudden trauma which hits like a lightning bolt. 

Adjustments are a reality in aging.  Keeping yourself well, your mind sharp, your abilities keen will help head off the possibilities.  Eventually, however, most of us will be met with that unexpected moment. It is then that our own strength, girded by faith, underpinned by hope, reinforced by love, and accompanied by a strong support system will be required.



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