Dis-ease is a situation of unease; it is a body that is not at ease, which means that the body is not within proper function. Now, most of us relate to to dis-ease as the flu or a virus. But it can also be a warning sign that something is amiss in our lives. Something is off, and we can't explain it.
"I am in a rut." "My chores are done, the days keep slipping by and I just feel empty." "I wake up to another day doing nothing." These are just a few examples of complaints I hear from women who are recently retired.
But it is important to recognize that the feeling of dis-ease needs to be addressed immediately. My job as a counselor is to keep women from slipping into depression. I choose to do preventative counseling. Awareness if the first step to self-fulfillment. Once we realize we are dissatisfied with our lives, then we can do something about it. It takes time for the feeling of dis-ease to transpire. It just doesn't happen overnight. We have been on stimulus overload for many years now, following the lead of social media. We have compared ourselves to others on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, always wondering if we measure up.
We no long long have the labels which once defined us as workers and as mothers. The duties that went along with those labels have been stripped from us, leading us to face long days with many hours to fill.
It is crucial that we change our perception of how we are feeling. We have been given an opportunity to find out who we are, and what we are all about. We have all the time now to explore our options. Feeling the dis-ease and restlessness is telling us that we are experiencing a shift in our lives. Our old habits no longer fit who we are.
Retirement is a time of self-exploration, of learning new ways to flourish. We weren't given a book of instructions telling us how to spend our days, but we certainly can find the way to take advantage of what remaining years we have left.
I am approaching the seventy-fourth chapter of my life and I look forward to filling those empty pages with glorious experiences. I have spent the past five years researching how people embrace aging. I have read the scientific articles on how specify activities enhance the quality of life. My biggest joy is passing along my knowledge to my clients, watching them flourish.
So, now I will be passing along my wisdom to you. My method is not rocket science: it is just an accumulation of successful strategies used by retirees all over the world.
Your first lesson is to embrace your feeling of dis-ease. You own the feeling. Do not try to stuff it down or try to make it go away. Then write down any unfinished dreams you may have carried with you to retirement. Did you want to paint? Write? Find out who you are - not a mother, grandmother or wife, but you. What is the essence of you?
I will be back with the next edition of "How to flourish in your golden years."