Are you apprehensive about Retirement? For many, Retirement signifies departing from a career—a perceived loss. Though anticipated since youth, Retirement’s arrival often evokes feelings of “jumping off a cliff,” “panic,” or “loss of identity.” However, Retirement need not be synonymous with these anxieties. Instead, it presents an opportunity. Research indicates that by our 50s, 60s, and 70s, we’re at our happiest (AARP, 2018). At this stage, we’re poised to care for others selflessly (Ehlman, 2012), harboring a wealth of experience and an eagerness to share it. Having honed our skills, we’re empowered to continue in our field or explore new passions—a second chance to pursue what’s meaningful through work, mentoring, volunteering, or Philanthropy.

As we approach Retirement, it’s prudent to discern what will imbue our lives with the most significance. The transition can be smoother than anticipated by reframing Retirement as an opportunity and addressing the who, what, and why.


Rather than lamenting the loss of a job title, Retirement invites us to rediscover our authentic selves. Engage in self-discovery to unearth your core identity—the adventurer, helper, change-maker, or myriad roles awaiting exploration. Retirement offers the freedom to embrace these facets fully.


What does Retirement entail for you? Defining your Retirement vision is essential, whether it’s liberation from the confines of work or a source of anxiety over structureless days. By outlining your activities, financial plans, and purpose, you can alleviate pre-Retirement stress and address any uncertainties beforehand.


Retirement is an opportune moment to contemplate our life’s purpose. By shaping our legacy, we imbue our existence with meaning and leave behind a lasting impact. Reflect on what truly matters to you and strive to create a legacy aligned with your values and aspirations.

Retirement transcends mere relaxation; it’s a phase of heightened positive emotions, meaningful connections, and self-discovery. Embrace it as an entrepreneurial journey into your future—a chapter brimming with possibilities and purpose.

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ReferencesEhlman, K., & Ligon, M. (2012). The Application of a Generativity Model for Older Adults. The International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 74(4), 331–344. (2018, January 28). Get Happier As You Get Older – Stanford’s Dr. Laura Carstensen. YouTube. .

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Deborah Heiser, PhD The Right Side of 40

Deborah Heiser, PhD is an Applied Developmental Psychologist with a specialty in Aging. I'm a researcher, TEDx speaker, contributor for Psychology Today, Substack blogger, CEO of The Mentor Project, and adjunct professor of Psychology.

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