I love Halloween. I don’t even know why exactly or when it started, but there’s something about this time of year. It’s fun, mysterious, and especially beautiful in Wisconsin. To clarify, I’m not talking about October 31st. Sure, the actual holiday is great, but experiencing everything leading up to it is really where my heart lies.
Let’s be real, Halloween as a parent is not what it’s cracked up to be. Trick-or-treating on a school night? Not ideal. Neither is trying to figure out if a coat can go under the costume. (Note…buy one or two sizes up!) And it’s usually a coin toss to decide if mom or dad will man the front door or the kids as they bounce between houses. Finally, the eventual negotiation of which piece of candy will actually the be the last piece of the night. But they’re just so cute in those costumes!!
Speaking of costumes—don’t you remember the thrill of dressing up and being whatever you wanted to be for one night? My brother was always one to throw on the scariest mask he could find. No need for full attire when you have a head that will haunt for days. As for me, I was quite random with my costume choices. Black cat, hobo (what? and why? I am still unsure), Posh Spice…pop-star sensation at the time. Ask any child at any time of the year what they want to be for Halloween and I guarantee you’ll get a direct answer.
But for us adults, the fun of dress up, play, and fantasy wears off all too quick. Let’s be honest, most of us haven’t experienced that feeling for a long time. Like many things in life, as we age, the excitement wears off. Why does it have to be that way? Kids eventually become adults and morph into the seriousness of life. Fun and play gets pushed aside for responsibility more popularly known these days as “adulting.”
Well, let me tell you, part of retirement planning that no one prepares you for, is the importance of getting into costume, or taking one off, and having some fun. I don’t care what part of life you’re in, this is an important message!
Retirement is an incredible time. It’s a time where some can easily lose their sense of purpose or identity without that connection to their career they’ve held for so long. Whether we like to admit it or not, the culture and routine of your work does to some extent become who you are. It can be difficult to turn that off upon retiring. This is especially true if you don’t have another version of yourself to ‘turn on’. We see people transition into retirement regularly and those who are most successful are those that can hone in on their other identifying roles in life and find new ones to embrace. This is essential to a smooth and empowering transition into retirement.
If you’re nearing retirement, try practicing by putting a few ‘costumes’ on and see how you like them. If you’re young and caught up in balancing work, life, and family, try not to lose sight of having time for yourself and the things you personally enjoy. It’s so easy to let recreation move out of our lives to make way for things that are more ‘important and urgent’. Don’t let fun and play be phased out.
No matter where you’re at in the retirement journey, it’s never too late to think about the personal side. Let the enjoyment of Halloween serve as a reminder that you can be anything you want to be at any age, not just one night a year in grade school.