British Columbia

Developing other passions can ease men into retirement, author says

Sociologist Lyndsay Green said it can be hard for men to let go of work, as it often forms their identity

Sociologist Lyndsay Green said it can be hard for men to let go of work, as it often forms their identity

Having other retirees to hang out with can help people enjoy their retirement more, author Lyndsay Green says. (Getty Images/Caiaimage)

Transitioning into retirement can be difficult for some — particularly men — but developing other passions before one retires can help, says a sociologist and author.

"There's a very profound attachment that we have to work," said Lyndsay Green, who wrote Ready to Retire? What You and Your Spouse Need to Know About the Reality of Retirement.

Green interviewed 45 men and 17 of their partners to research her book, and found that men in particular struggled with the transition to retirement, and weren't quite ready to "throw off those workplace chains and run along the beach or zoom along in a convertible."

"We often have great fun working with other people," Green told B.C. Almanac host Michelle Eliot.

"There's intellectual stimulation, you're problem solving, there's the structure work gives to your day, you know where to go in the morning when you get out of bed, and then there's a sense of purpose.

"That's a lot of stuff to give up, and men were often concerned about how they could replace that when they stopped working

Transitioning into retirement

Green said that the men who had thrived in retirement told her they managed by developing other passions, especially while they were still in their careers.

"One of the things that men suggest doing is having multiple selves As one of the men described it to me, it's like having a number of lily pads to stand on. You've got your work lily pad, and if it goes soft you can leap into another lily pad," she said.

"And maybe if that one doesn't' work out, you've got yet another one."

Green said that going back to childhood passions also helped, and cited the example of one man who retired from a high-profile, high paying job and went back to a line of work he used to do when he was a university student.

"Although he didn't need to continue working, he wanted to work, so he went back to something he absolutely adored."

To hear the full story listen to the interview labelled: Developing other passions can ease one into retirement, author says


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?