Listen to yourself – Senior life advice

« Enough with people people pleasing. It's time to rekindle with our childhood dreams »


t’s been almost 5 months since I started my job as a full-time on/offline facilitator and coordinator at Alphonse for a pre-retirement program. Pretty similar to what we try to do with the project Our Millennials Today, Alphonse (in FR) aims to help seniors prepare for the life-changing transition that is retirement. This personal development program (in FR) is 6 weeks long and alternates between introspective solo moment & group gathering. As the makesense Sprint, it’s a 100% online course (If you want to learn more about online facilitation, you can hop on to this article).

I have to admit, talking to seniors at the verge of leaving the workplace has taught me tons about myself and the way one should consider his/her career.

So here are the 5 takeaways I wrote down. Ready, set go!

1. it’s ok to do nothing

A lot of people associate retirement to a blank page or an empty schedule. Some others even feel guilty for not being productive during the day as if “I lost my time”.

But who can pretend they’re productive 24/7? And why should we be after all? 

Think of it as going on holidays. If you’re like me, your vacations look a lot like this. The first days are for nothing but chilling. Then you start planning meet ups and outings with friends after. In a way this is similar to any creative process: starts with a blah/mind wandering phase before figuring out what’s going on & where you want to head. Life transitions are the same.

2. ask yourself what you really wish for

« Enough with people-pleasing now. Whether it’s our parents, society or even ourselves – depending on what standards for success we drew –, we’re free at last. It’s the perfect time to rekindle with old dreams »

We all have our biaises. Why not take some time to acknowledge them and deconstructing them? Maybe it’ll be the occasion for you to pursue your childhood dreams/passions.

3. it’s never too late to start over

It has never been easier to start a new activity. Willing to restore furnitures and open a second-hand shop? Why not open an Instagram account to test out the waters? Rather interested in learning about art some more? Well, let’s sign up for an online course. Those are all steps taken by participants in the span of 3 weeks to 5 months.

The lesson is simple: If you feel like it, go for it. What do you have to lose anyways? I don’t know if this yolo feeling comes from a no f*cks given policy given their age (cf. the second point) or not but I only have one wish: keep this dynamics in my life for as long as I can.

4. find a way to define yourself outside of work 

Leaving the workplace is hard. As of today, our occupations remain one of our lives’ most self-defining elements. Most of our “adult socialising” comes from the relationships we build at work. So leaving the workplace can feel a bit intimidating, if not stressful.

So take time for yourself, explore your passions, your wishes. Find something that makes you vibrate when you’re off work. Learn to define who you are apart from what you do. This will allow you to work for something you really cherish, not to occupy yourself in fear of doing nothing.

5. learn to say no

Whether it’s at work or during your free time, make some room for yourself. Whatever might be the transition you’re going through, finding a new balance comes from listening to yourself… which can only be done when you’re actually inclined to do so. So embrace the occasional blanks in your schedule.

& it’s when you have free time that you leave room for the unexpected

In the end, entering & leaving the job market can feel the same: quite stressful. On one side we learn how important the role of work will have on your life/social status. On the other end, we realise we’re about to lose those tags which seem essential to walk through life.

I feel however that in both transitions taking a step back to tune in with yourself helps a lot. So don’t forget to pause when you feel like it.

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