Work - “an act to attain a result or purpose.” Normally, the most apparent reason for working was to earn an income in order to support a lifestyle. In some cases, it was to earn money while pursuing the dream of being a professional athlete.
The time, effort, and dedication you spent in your career have surely yielded some sense of respect, pride, and joy. It goes without saying that your work has challenged your whole character - helped you grow, develop, and become accomplished in your field. Along with that sacrifice comes fame and recognition - people remember your name, your highlights, and great runs.
Having a career used to define the most part of your life before setting into “retired” life. With that, you might ask yourself: “if my work defined my life, what does it mean to live a life being retired?”, “What becomes of my sense of pride and accomplishment when I leave the space of my work and finally retire?
For most people who regard working as a satisfying pursuit of income, self-worth, and career, the question might be terrifying to answer. After all, it’s not easy to transition from having a career that compelled you to train almost every day of the week to not having anything on your calendar at all. Leaving the life of adrenaline can be hard for most people.
However, the answer to such questions should not come as terrifying and as depressing as it sounds. In fact, there is a lot of silver lining in leaving the spotlight of being a professional athlete. Though it may not be as apparent and obvious, once you see things in a different light, you’ll see that being retired is probably one of the best things you’ll achieve in your life.
Retirement can be harsh, and some people can have a difficult time trying to cope up. On the brighter side, an unhappy retirement should not always be the case, especially for you. Here are a few reasons why you should keep reminding yourself that you had a great run in your career:
You’re Still the Cause of that Success
Truth be told, even if most professionals look forward to retirement, the loss of a career can be very traumatic. In fact, psychologists say that it can take a serious toll on someone’s health as it does not only take away daily routine, it also affects self-worth and self-image.
With that, it is important to remind yourself that YOU are still that person - the one who achieved so many great accomplishments in their career! The dedication, the blood, and sweat that you put into every game was not in vain and was certainly not for self-pity for when you are finally retired. Those great highlights were led by you and no retirement can ever take away that fact.
So even if someone you bumped into the mall says “Didn’t you use to…”, ignore the innocent condescension and stick to the fact that you left an unforgettable impression to a stranger! Give yourself and your achievements the due credit it deserves, because you definitely can, as you should.
Think about it this way: if you wrote a memoir about your career, people will still buy that book, and that’s because you’re you.
2. You Earned and Deserve That Timeout
Statistically, the average professional has an estimate of 20 years of life left to spend after retirement. By then, your body will not be the same as it was in your prime years, and that’s okay! In fact, that’s more than normal. People become less physically able as they age, and you should remind yourself that while not being too hard on yourself.
Look at it this way: you deserve this timeout. Bluntly said, you earned it. All your success and achievement has led you in this point of your life - a carefree and free life where you can explore other things outside your usual bubble or interests.
Sometime in your retirement, you might think about going back again because things are better inside your career. However, that might not always be the case. Change is normal and necessary for life. You can’t play your whole life, and that should not depress you. Take it as another adventure. The success that you felt in your career can still be achieved in your retired life, even if you will just experience it in another way.
3. Retirement Opens a Window (Or Windows)
When you retire, you’ll be presenting yourself to a pool of many other opportunities and alternatives. If you’re blessed enough to have a lot of money in your retirement, then your retired life can be a time of freedom and liberty in choosing whichever change that you want for yourself.
Retirement can be a time for you to try out various pursuits. Travel and discover the world, give yourself a stock car as a gift and hit the asphalt, join a triathlon, develop a sense of philanthropy and give back, invest in a new skill and pursue it, go out and try skydiving. Or not. Your choices are virtually limitless, and that’s the best part of it!
Experiment with the new life you have. After all, you earned that! Adventure and adrenaline don’t have to end just because your career did. In fact, it could be the start of a much bigger and better world of happiness.
As you change or partake a new path in life, you carry your experiences and turn it into wisdom. Experience gives way for joy, knowledge, and a sense of fulfillment. Without the busy life of having a job, you have more time to consider your memories and experiences, and understand how far you’ve come. It’s important to keep yourself grounded in that truth. And even if the world may no longer be reminded of it, as long as you do, you’re set and well for the rest of your life.