Are You Retiring or Transitioning?
Barrington H. Brennen, September 14, 2016, 2021
I transitioned in November 2019.
What do I mean? Most of us refer to it as
retirement. However, the word retirement suggests that one
will cease working and will go in to a state of laziness or
do-nothingness. The word transition suggests that one
is about to enter another phases of one’s life that can be
equally or more productive, creative, and purposeful.
Some people use the word transition to refer to death and
continuing to live after death in another form. Not
for me. There is another word for that. There is
really no transition there.
Years before I transitioned I worked hard and really enjoyed
what I was doing. For me, this was important for a
healthy transition. Another way you can the word
"retired" is when one put on new tired--one would re tired.
What pictures come to your mind when you think of
retirement? Is it sleeping by a lovely beach? Is it
waking up late each morning? Is it becoming more wrinkled
and weaker? Whatever it is, the beauty about transitioning
is that you are in charge. Remember this important point;
getting older does not automatically translate into chronic
illnesses, Alzheimer’s, Dementia, heart failure, cancer,
and lots of knee problem. The way you take care of
yourself now and the creating a positive outlook on life
will help mold the transitioning years.
It is imperative that when one transitions, one continues to
be active, even if not in an actual career. A few years
ago I shared the findings of a research in the 1970s by Loma
Linda University, California, about health and longevity.
Here it is: “If you operate on less than twenty percent of
your mental, physical and spiritual capacity you will
increase your chances of having a heart attack by
thirty-three percent.” This means that just the fact of
doing nothing can kill you. So if you exercise a lot now do
not stop when you “retire.” If you work requires you to
read a lot, do not stop reading after you retire. If you
are lifting heavy equipment now do not stop when you
retire. Doing this can cause premature death. This does
not literally mean you have to do all the same work you are
doing now after retirement. It means you must keep the
brain and body active. This is what can help keep you
active. In my case I will be continuing in another path.
It would be just like another career. The main difference
is that I will be own boss. I will keep certain features of
my present “career” but will enter new fields of adventure.
For me, that sunshine of life is every before me.
If you are still young it is important to have a positive
view of life. It is important to establish healthy
relationships. The Mental Health Foundation in the United
State offers this advice: “Getting older and retirement
both involve a change in lifestyle for most people and it’s
important to take care of you mentally as well as
physically.” Hence, prepare now for the change in a
positive way. Here is one way to look at it. If you
start getting sick, weak, and lazy when it is time to leave
your job, then that will be retirement. However, when you
reach the end your first path, and your strength maintains,
you vision expands, and the excitement increases, then you
would be transitioning.
One of the greatest secrets for turning retirement in to
transitioning is health relationships. Dr. Sue Johnson, a
specialist in relationships, states: “The strongest drive
in humans is not the sex drive or appetite. It is the
drive to connect to one another.” This is not talking about
marriage itself or even romantic relationships. It is
speaking about the importance of friendship
relationship—having meaningful connections with others.
Research tells us that the more friendship relationships or
human connections we have the greater we lower the risk of
heart failure, high blood pressure and other illnesses.
Here is another finding about retirement and depression: “
. . . Research from the Institute of Economic Affairs
suggests that while retirement may initially benefit health
- by reducing stress and creating time for other activities,
adverse effects increase the longer retirement goes on. It
found retirement increases the chances of suffering from
clinical depression by around 40%, and of having at least
one diagnosed physical illness by 60%.” I am proposing
that if we are planning to have a transition and not a
retirement, we would not worry about these issues.
If you want to make a transition and not retirement, than
make sure you have great relationships now outside of the
work place. Make sure there is social engagement and
activity outside of the workplace. Enjoy you work and do
not make work your only world of excitement. “When
someone's social life was tied up with their work,
retirement can take it all away. Mental health problems are
common. One in five experiences depression, according to the
Mental Health Foundation.”
I invite you to join me in transitioning. I have just a few
more years. I’ve been planning for this transition for
years now. I am excited about it. I will not reveal all I
want to do after transitioning but will share a few. I
will be continuing my writing, publishing books and doing
seminars around the world. I will travel with my wife on
world cruises for three months at a time (not sure where the
money will be coming from). I will continue to find ways
how to impact lives on a daily bases locally and
world-wide. One thing for sure, I plan to make more money
after my transition than I am making now. Join me in
transitioning. It’s great!
Barrington H. Brennen, MA, NCP, BCCP, JP, is
a marriage and family therapist and board certified clinical
psychotherapist, USA. Send your questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or
write to P.O. Box CB-13019, Nassau, The Bahamas, or visit www.soencouragement.org
or call 242-327-1980 or 242-477-4002.