Source: Grosse Pointe News Online

Where do you begin when retiring?

by Mary Anne Lushe

August 22, 2013

Editor’s note: This is the second of a two-part series.

Q. I’ll be retiring this October and I don’t even know how to think about the future, or what to do with the rest of my life. Where do I begin?

A. The desire to take a path less traveled, to do something we’ve always longed to do, or to go more deeply into our own being, comes up for many of us in mid-life and beyond.

When we prepare to retire or a spouse does, we will often be asked what you plan to do, with the assumption some interest will take up your time. For some it is entirely clear how they will spend their retirement time, for others, not so much.

I’d like to suggest whether you are a young person or an elder, the more important question is not, “What should I do with the time I’ve been given,” but “Who shall I be going forward?”

At every age we are more than what we do. Too often we haven’t done the work of discovering who we are, recognizing the unique things we bring to the table of life and developing the legacy we eventually want to leave.

Teens and older adults both want to mean something and not just do something.

For seniors, the question is much the same.

Taking stock of not just what you have accomplished, but who you have become can bring the greater reward. Is that consistent with who you want to be going forward? Is the kind of person I’ve become consistent with the ideals I have as I move into the later years? If not, what concrete steps can I make to get on track with myself? Will my legacy be what I’ve always desired it to be?

Asking these important questions is not just about filling time, it is about knowing ourselves in all our richness and living out of that self into our world.

If you’re a teen, try talking about these questions with an older person you consider to be wise, whether a grandparent, other relative or neighbor. If you are a senior, seek out a grandchild or the neighbor kid and do the same. If you are the parent, you are fortunate, go to your teen or parent, or a good friend.

The process of “becoming” never ends.

Lushe is a clinical therapist serving the Grosse Pointe and St. Clair Shores area. She works with individuals, couples and families and can be reached at (586) 774-7779 or at

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For more information, visit the center’s web site.