Retirement. In our 50s, 60s, and 70s we stop the activities generating the income that shaped the life we enjoyed and occupied the days and weeks of adult life. The purpose that arranged how time was spent is gone. Towards the end of a career some look forward to stopping work while others struggle to stop. When we retire we can experience relief, even elation: the constraints of a schedule imposed by outside demands are gone. But after a few months, sometimes a year or so, feelings of purposelessness, anxiety, or depression emerge though we may have a busy schedule of volunteering and activities we had not had time to accomplish during our career life.
Though 'retiring' can be difficult, it also becomes an opportunity. Maybe it is difficult because it is not what we expected. The freedom of not being constrained and the busyness of a self-motivated schedule do not satisfy. We experience changes in physical energy and ability or we slow down. The question "what next?" emerges and refuses to be framed by previously held expectations or collective standards. In the course of therapy or consultation, together, we hold one eye open to the outside world and what is suggested by current research on self-care and resources in retirement. However, we close the other eye as in the Alaskan Inuit carving of a face with one eye open and one eye closed. The closed eye suggests we turn towards the inner life and trust that we can be guided by the values and meaning that emerge from a deeper ground of knowledge.
I am a Jungian analyst in the Southwest of the USA, in Marana, Arizona north of Tucson and on the West coast in Lake Oswego near Portland, Oregon