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Old 01-12-2015, 09:02 AM
 
143 posts, read 132,678 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post
I think the OP's problem is rather common and I can relate to it. Especially for men, our jobs do tend to define us. We have a certain status in the world based on our job, and even if that status is not a lofty one, it is still a status, a role in the world, as opposed to no status and no role.

So for a lot of folks, it takes some getting used to. Statements to the effect that our jobs "shouldn't" define us are not helpful, and in fact are meaningless. Note I am not saying there's anything wrong with people who don't find an identity in their jobs - that is fine if they don't. I am just saying that one cannot simply set aside one's identity in life by an act of will, especially based on other people's statements that one's feeling of identity is somehow not valid or not legitimate.
Status is not something that we choose, it is conferred on us by others, just as others may choose to define us by our jobs, but I don't have to agree with their assessment. If someone needs to "define" me I was, and I am much better defined by my hobbies and outside interests.

I loved my job and I was good at it. It provided me a living and many other rewards. But it was not the most accurate gauge for measuring who I was.

Don't get me wrong. People are free to strongly identity with their careers. Most do so without problems, but I observed many colleagues retire and fall into depression or sadness because "I was my job." Whether they allowed others to define them by their job or they did so themselves did not matter. It was heartbreaking to watch.
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Old 01-12-2015, 09:29 AM
 
Location: delaware
688 posts, read 864,694 times
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i understand what you are saying in regard to transitioning yourself into another role, since your job was such a definitive part of your life for many years. however, i think many people whose lives have changed, by choice or fate, as they enter their retirement years, find that their lives require redefining. while i understand that you feel not having marriage or children might make a definitive identity more difficult, i think you'll find that many retirees who have recently been divorced, widowed,lost significant friends/family members, moved to a new location, feel that inventing another life is necessary.

aging usually involves losses of many kinds and being willing to acknowledge and confront the loss is, in my opinion, part of the journey in re-inventing yourself. the ability to be flexible and realistic is important, as, in my experience, while you may, and probably will find some roles that are satisfying, this life will be different than the one you've had. for many people, not all, this is a positive, but it does involve changing your expectations. this takes time, energy, and patience. you may find that some kind of counseling or therapy along these lines might prove helpful, but that option would not be everyone's.

i think redefinition is possible; i have attempted to do this in my own life for reasons different than yours. as you describe yourself, my guess is that you like challenges. i would look upon developing another life for yourself as a different kind of challenge, but you need to test the waters by trying some different areas of interest. also, be gentle with your self and your forays into uncharted waters. there is no time frame; it is about discovery.

good luck-

catsy girl
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Old 01-12-2015, 10:41 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
23,581 posts, read 17,574,904 times
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I have many passions outside of work. I'm not defined by work. I think what a lot of people miss more than anything is a relatively structured lifestyle.
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Old 01-12-2015, 11:35 AM
 
6,403 posts, read 3,356,515 times
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I have never had the need to really "define" myself, as I am in constant change, and the whole, "who or what am I" gets too slippery.
But I have played many roles in life -- teacher, wife, horse trainer, artist, friend, nice, not-so-nice, chocolate addict ....

Perhaps if you think of your retirement as a new adventure, it won't be so scary. Life will most definitely fill any void you are feeling with all sorts of exciting opportunities and new roles to play.
Good luck to you!
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Old 01-12-2015, 01:08 PM
 
4,343 posts, read 6,058,509 times
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'Defining me' would be someone else's job and a judgmental one at that.
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Old 01-12-2015, 01:37 PM
 
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Do what you like and that is what you do in retirement and that is what you tell people you do when they ask what you do.
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Old 01-12-2015, 02:05 PM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 18,978,143 times
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It is what I do/have done outside of regular job that define(s)(ed) me. Thank goodness I always had a parallel creative life all while working at highly demanding jobs. My sister, for instance, was totally defined by her job, and now retired she is totally lost and always complaining about nothing to do and no one to do it with, despite my pleas to get involved in volunteer work. She can't seem to break away from that identity; for her, it was a highly social job in a school dept spending much time chatting at the water cooler and overtime on lunch with her coworkers. I can see how she misses it.
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Old 01-12-2015, 03:17 PM
 
Location: California
4,554 posts, read 5,472,028 times
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It might be helpful to read:

What Color Is Your Parachute in Retirement. It helps you define and remember what you lost while meeting other obligations for all those years.
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Old 01-12-2015, 04:10 PM
 
143 posts, read 132,678 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heidi60 View Post
It might be helpful to read:

What Color Is Your Parachute in Retirement. It helps you define and remember what you lost while meeting other obligations for all those years.
I like Ernie Zelinski's "How To Retire Happy, Wild and Free" also.
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Old 01-12-2015, 04:12 PM
 
5,426 posts, read 3,450,730 times
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You can define yourself by your interests.

And by what you read about, think about, and possibly pursue in relation to those interests.

If you have a good number of interests, and are also interested in and curious about the world, you have a positive step toward a happy retirement.

It is definitely not crucial nor a requirement to have been married and/or have children to frame a definition of oneself before retirement nor after retirement.

Last edited by matisse12; 01-12-2015 at 04:21 PM..
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