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  • Petra van den Berg

Can retirement can be stressful?

Updated: Dec 2, 2018




I still see him sitting there, in his chair. He looked deflated. There was no spark in his eyes. My dad…… .

He had always been a charismatic man, full of life and poetic stories. He had live long career spanning 45 years on the radio as a presenter of various programs.

Now he was just sitting there; no stories, no poetry, just a vacant look.

I was in my early twenties at this stage and studying psychology. My entire life and exciting opportunities laid ahead of me. I did not understand what he was feeling. Where was my strong and vibrant father gone?


As I grew both personally and professionally became a psychologist, I started to understand. He had worked his way up the ladder from his mid-teens to become the man he was. He had a social existence, he had vision and a purpose in his life.

That all disappeared on the day he was not required to attend work anymore.

In those times retirement just seemed to happen at a certain age, today for some people it can be a choice, however just as daunting.

As time went by, my dad learned to create a new focus in his life, to create new shared vision and purpose with my mother for their twilight years. They travelled, enjoyed being with their grandchildren. But there was so much more to it, than just that. They remained active, physically, socially, and mentally and my dad embraced life again.

Fast forward another thirty years and I often get the clients adjusting to their retirement years and several come in to talk about the challenge before the event. Several questions I might ask are:

  • Ask yourself what is important for you in this stage in your life? What are your values?

  • How will you remain socially active? Think: Volunteering, Rotary or Lions Clubs, singing, neighbourhood houses.

  • How will you remain physically active: Think sporting clubs: tennis, lawn bowls, golf, yoga, walking clubs, dancing, swimming, sailing, kayaking.

  • How will you remain mentally active: Think doing (short) courses, University of the Third Age (U3A), learning new skills, a new language, learn to play an instrument, participate in local community events.

This is only a very general list, but your life is individual as you are!




I can help you find answers to questions and assist you in creating a fulfilling, rewarding, happy life.

I wrote this blog with my dad in mind, but in way do I suggest a gender bias with these issues.

So in short:

Yes… retirement is major ‘life event’ and Yes can be very stressful, however adjustment through renewed vision and purpose, creates a life to embrace!




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