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Image by Wren Meinberg on Unsplash.

Recently I’ve seen some disturbing articles on Medium on the topic of retirement.

Some people are scared about life after retirement. What will they do with their time? Will they run out of money?

Even worse, some people are terrified of not retiring. One person wrote that she’d feel totally hopeless if she couldn’t retire in ten years.

First, these fear-based articles distort the reality of a life transition. 

Many articles seem to be written for the author’s self-expression. They’re scared and they seek validation.  They seem to want to hear, “You’re not alone.” In fact, many articles use the word “we” as though their experiences were universal.

nstead of sharing with a few close friends or a therapist, they post in public places.

You’re not hearing from people who can easily afford to stop working, but who choose to keep going because they love their jobs. You’re not hearing from people who planned to stop working at a certain age, building a financial and social foundation well in advance.

The popular first-person articles focus on problems. They wouldn’t get many readers if they didn’t.

Second, people who feel desperate to retire are already dying insight.

Some people write about being so miserable at 55, they can’t wait to retire in ten years. (No specifics –  I don’t want to call anyone out.)

Ten years is a long time to be miserable. The stress alone will put you at risk for serious medical conditions that ironically impede your retirement.

Travel might be more difficult due to the political climate. Global warming could affect the way you spend your summers. A new global epidemic could bring more restrictions.  You could find yourself changed, physically or mentally.

 If you’re feeling desperate to retire, see if you can afford a few sessions with a life coach or career coach.

They don’t come cheap but they could save your sanity and open up your options.  I interviewed a good life coach on a recent podcast episode.  

Planning for retirement should be like other kinds of planning: thoughtful and leisurely, not desperately nail-biting.

Recently I recommended taking your retirement in chunks — time off here and there, if you can manage it, while you’re still working. .

Desperation leads to bad decisions and attracts more bad luck than a roomful of black cats.

Learn what it takes to make you happy. It might be solitude; it might be a busy social life. It might mean living in a particular place. Practice doing what you’d do if you stopped working…while you have time to experiment and decide what’s right for you.