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Are You Retiring or Transitioning?

By Barrington H. Brennen, September 14, 2016, 2021

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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 barringtonbrennen@gmail.com  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.






















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