All of a sudden, I am reading about those who want to retire in their 30s as well as those who aim for age 99. There’s something in the air about when to switch gears and experience life on new terms. It’s complicated because the decision has significant psychological and financial consequences.
Harvard Business Schoool Professor Teresa Amabile studied retirement and her work findings suggest that:
“…although most welcomed the freedom and flexibility, many retirees described unexpected feelings of being at loose ends, and it typically took from six months to two years (or more) for them to sort through their thoughts and feelings. People varied considerably in whether they saw the open space of time before them as a blank canvas they were excited to paint—or a dark, scary void.”
One study participant even said “After I retire, I’m going to have to discover who I really am.” Seems to me like he can be the poster child for being at an Expressive Age! It’s the old adage of change as meaning both an opportunity and a crisis! Congratulations to social scientists who are striving to better understand how we experience a decision to retire. As for me, it will be a while before I open that door.