Have I told you about my 87 year old father? He’s a master of reinvention. He used to be a high school art teacher, but had an opportunity to retire early at 55. We’ve all seen the Freedom 55 commercials right? It’s supposed to be great.
In his case, though, the transition wasn’t easy. I don’t think he quite knew what to do with himself. Accustomed to a highly structured day with many responsibilities, he suddenly found an endless stretch of time during which nothing was happening. I remember a lot of TV watching and listlessness that we weren’t accustomed to seeing. Over time, though, he found his way. He started to watch the “talking heads” as he calls them, financial advisors and news reporters on TV.
He read about the stock markets and investing. Before you knew it, he was playing both tennis and the stock markets daily, getting super fit and doubling the income he had ever earned as a teacher, all while working only an hour per day.
Now he still plays with the money markets, but as an artist, he also tackles new creative themes each year. During COVID, he was obsessed with painting waves. A challenging thing to capture, perhaps it was his way to escape the confinement of isolation. Each week, my siblings in Toronto would send me photos of his work. He’s been painting faster and more than ever before, excitedly sharing his creations.
As I lead the Identity and Transition Program, I’m reminded that we all have periods of change and transition. Times when we need to pause from life, and allow ourselves the time to figure things out. Making sure our next steps are thoughtful, not rushed.
For many people who’ve committed their lives to the “job,” knowing what to do in their leisure time is not easy. That’s why we developed our Healthy Living Program, starting this November. It’s virtual, so even if you don’t live close by, you can still join us. Call early to enroll so we know to save a spot for you.
Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.
Executive Director, Landing Strong