Though retirement is stereotyped as a geezer Garden of Eden furnished with recliners and a flat screen TV, it can be tough. You'd never know it, though, from the ads. You've seen them---beautiful Botoxed models with silver hair, riding bikes on a country lane or sitting in seaside bath tubs waiting for the moment to be right.
In reality, retirement is no chocolate truffle. It's a mixed bag. Some people love it, some hate it and some just struggle, trying to understand who they are besides unemployed and what they should do now since they are finally in charge.
Sounds good -- being in charge of your life; but if you've invested total energy in a job now gone and in a family now departed, facing the future is scary. What will you do with yourself? Who will you become? The silly old person of the stereotypes? A super senior who skydives and makes the news? A grandpa who babysits and loves it because he missed out on his own kids' childhoods? (Too busy earning a living.)
Maybe a grandma who starts a new business? Or someone who never retires -- who works as a consultant or at a part-time job to make money or to feel useful? (The biggest poverty of the later years may be the lack, not of money, but of meaning.)
Here are six ways to get a grip:
Mel Walsh is a columnist, blogger, gerontologist and author of Hot Granny: Fabulous At 50, 60 and Beyond! (Chronicle Books).