Phased Retirement: Be a Freshman Again

When you enter the ranks of the retired – or even semi-retired – you’ll be starting a new phase of life as a beginner.  Just like your time in high school and perhaps college your journey begins as a freshman (or ‘first year’ as they say now).

Things during those first 12 months were mostly new and sometimes tough to navigate.  But they were also exciting and stretched you and challenged you to grow.  Plus, you met a lot of people, perhaps some life-long friends.  Maybe some others you’re still trying to forget!

My advice to you is to embrace being a retirement freshman.  It’s worth it.

Part of the longer-term plan for my wife and I is to spend some months of the year in a warmer climate.  When you live in Minnesota, that’s pretty much anywhere.  Even Iowa is warmer!

Even though we’re still working, we’ve been able to ‘test drive’ this plan over the past few years with more possibilities for remote or hybrid work.  We’re spending our time in January golfing in shorts versus shoveling snow in parkas.

And as the ‘freshmen’ we’ve met so many people – even in our brief test periods.  Like college, most of the people are transplants from a variety of areas. It seems everyone in the American southwest is from somewhere else.

And here’s the thing, we’re all in the same boat!

The questions when you started college were probably along the lines of, “Where are you from? What dorm are you in? What’s your major?”

During our early years of experimenting with new geographies the questions have shifted to, “Where are you from? What community are you in? Are you still working?  Do you golf or play pickleball?”

People have been very open and welcoming, and genuinely interested in getting to know more about us.  And they’re happy to share their journey and experiences with us.

So accept and relish the ‘retirement freshman’ title and be open to meeting new people and enjoying new experiences.  You still have the opportunity to make new life-long friends and uncover new interests and activities.

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