Phased Retirement: What are you Chasing?

A recent Wall Street Journal article (1) delved into the interesting concept of why we’re so busy and what we’re each chasing that keeps us so frenetic.  According to one person’s opinion in the article, in Italy the professional class are chasing a better tan, showing where they’ve been on vacation, and portraying how much leisure time they have. In America, it’s a contrast that seems to be a frenzied chase for busyness to show how important we are and how much we’re needed.

From the article, “But there’s also the temptation, perhaps uniquely American, to see busyness as a status symbol, proof that you’re important, industrious and in demand, as a worker and a human.”

Small wonder, then, that it’s so hard for many of us to down-shift into retirement.  Once we retire – or start to ratchet down our career demands in a phased retirement, we no longer seem to know what we’re chasing.

If to be valued is to be busy, then how can I be valued if I’m intentionally slowing my pace?!

First, by changing your own definition of what you’re chasing, and second, by looking for better ways to spend your valuable time.

If you’re still chasing that “American dream” of busyness as personal value, then perhaps you’re really not ready to work less.

If you’re comfortable starting to explore finding value in other ways and making time to make that happen, then you may be on the cusp of an exciting new part of your journey.  Maybe one where you’re breathing a little easier and savoring life a little more.

The way you craft an ‘elevator speech’ for a job you want or a project you money for is to start with a broad message of what your goal is and then continue to refine it down to its essence. 

So take a shot at your own career/retirement message. In the end, the only one that this story is meaningful to is YOU.

What will you chase?  How will you feel valued in life?  And how will you intentionally begin to move in that direction?

My story is a work in progress, but here it is:  “I’m looking forward to more focused time developing deeper relationships with family and friends; to spending more time on improving my overall health and participating in outdoor activities; to seeing new places and experiencing different perspectives through travel; and attending to some personal projects that have been on the back burner for way too long.”

(1) “Sorry, Too Busy! Why It’s So Hard to Get Together Right Now,” by Rachel Feintzeig, March 23, 2023.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: