Whether you’re approaching the beginning of your retirement or you’ve still got a number of years of work in front of you, it’s possible that you’ve already begun arranging this next major stage in your life. But no matter how much you read, how many numbers you crunch and how many pounds you put away, you may well still find yourself frequently adopting a gloomy outlook on what should be the phase of your life reserved purely for you to enjoy yourself. Psychologists describe this as “awfulizing”—concentrating on all that might go wrong, to the point of overlooking all the positives that are likely to lie ahead.
It’s a feeling that many retirees describe having in the countdown to concluding their working life. It’s frequently not a logical reaction: even those who have saved adequately for their retirement can find themselves overcome—freaked out even—by the realisation of the enormous amount of spare time and opportunities which will soon become available to them. A small amount of worry about the unfamiliar is natural, but it’s when this worry obstructs your route to realising your retirement dreams that it develops into out-and-out awfulizing!
So, if you sense yourself falling into awfulizing, how can you defeat it? It’s personal to everyone, but there are two steps. The first is to take control of those things within your power. Comprehensive financial planning and taking some professional advice should be at the top of this list, as without enough money to see you through your retirement, your imagined worries and concerns may well end up as a reality. Being candid and truthful about this with loved ones is a great idea to ensure that your plans and commitments once you retire are recognised and agreed by everyone who could be affected.
Having taken care of what you can control, the second step is to deal with those things that you can’t. Acknowledging that some possible events simply can’t be prepared for is essential to reduce your awfulizing tendencies, but in order to exile them entirely you need to become at ease with uncertainty. Look at your retirement as a story that hasn’t yet been written rather than a plan from which you can’t diverge. As long as you even out organisation of the components you can control with acceptance of those you can’t, you should find yourself liberated from the awfulizing mentality that can endanger your enjoyment of the greatest time of your life.
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