Most of the Boomers I know are "doers." They need to be doing something to keep themselves busy, motivated and healthy. The older doers get, the more they realize that some of the things they have been doing for years are now a lot more challenging. Broadly speaking, aging may make working long hours more tiring. It may make driving in traffic more stressful. It may make strenuous physical activity more difficult.
These kinds of challenges may cause one to contemplate retirement. When faced with retirement, the doer has a real dilemma. It is likely to be pretty scary. What will the doer do when he or she no longer has the multi-year career that was engaging? For some Boomers, their career may have even defined them as individuals.
In her article on NextAvenue.org, retired therapist Connie Zweig wrestles with this dilemma. She writes,"Like many boomers, I had found meaning and even love through my work. So, one part of me wanted to continue to do what I had always done: push hard to be productive so that I could enjoy a feeling of well-being at the end of the day. But another part wanted to leap into the unknown, letting go of old roles until a new beginning emerged."
Later in her insightful article, Zweig asks the question "Who Are We Beyond Work?" She found that she needed to ask herself "tough inner questions" to discover the answer. She pondered such questions as:
- "What is the role that no longer serves me? How is my identity tied to that role? Who am I if I am not that role? What has been sacrificed during my career to maintain that role?"
- "What is my fantasy of the future? Am I drawn to serve others? Am I drawn to a spiritual or contemplative practice? What stops me from engaging in service or meditation?"
Zweig admits that her circumstances allowed her the freedom to consider different retirement paths, rather than be forced to continue to work because of financial need. Not everyone has the luxury of such a choice. Still, those Boomers who have the financial security to leave the workforce and do something else should be asking the kinds of questions Zweig asked herself. That may be the only way they will truly solve the doer dilemma.
HappilyRewired.com is a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog.