Categorized | Lifestyle, Features, Active Living

Retired Women: Authors Want To Hear Your Stories

Inman and Jones penning a book on women and retirement

Leslie Inman (l) and Roxanne Jones are gathering the experiences of retired women for new book. 

Search “women and retirement” on the Internet, and the overwhelming majority of results focus on financial planning. That makes sense — taking steps to ensure your economic security after you stop earning a paycheck is certainly a priority.

But what about the emotional impact of this transition? How does it feel to shift from the engagement and routine of the workplace to having an abundance of unstructured time? Do you feel a loss of identity or relevance when you no longer work — and how do you deal with that? How does being retired affect your relationships with partners, children or aging parents? Does being retired feel like perpetual vacation — or purgatory?

To address these and other fundamental questions, two baby boomer women are developing a book entitled Voices from the Other Side…of Retirement. It will be a guide for not-yet-retired women, with advice, lessons learned and stories from women who’ve already left the working world — a compilation of “in-her-own-words” responses on various aspects of retirement.

The Human Side Of Retirement

And TheFiftyPlusLife.com readers are invited to help shape its content. To do so, simply go to www.retirementvoices.com and complete a thought-provoking questionnaire.

“We’re asking retired women to share the human side of retirement — its emotional, physical, spiritual, relationship, and daily-living joys and challenges,” explains Leslie Inman, 67, one of the co-authors. “We want to know what retirement looks and feels like at various stages, what women have learned, and what they wish they’d known when they stepped away from working.”

Why this “crowdsourcing” approach?

“Because we believe there’s nothing quite as valuable and relevant as real-world insights and advice from women who’ve actually been through it,”says co-author Roxanne Jones, 65. (You may recognize her as the author of the humorous Boomer Haiku columns that have appeared here on TheFiftyPlusLife.com.)

Why focus on women — don’t men go through the same existential angst when they retire?

“I’m sure they do,” Inman says. “But we female baby boomers are the first generation of women to have spent decades in the workplace in big numbers, breaking new ground when it came to having careers. We’re charting new territory when it comes to retirement too — and we can’t have too many road maps to guide us to and through the transition.

“That’s what this book is intended to be — a road map for women who haven’t yet exited their careers, created by women who’ve already navigated this phase of life,” she adds. “And if this book is successful, maybe we’ll develop one for men next.”

“If they feel they need directions,” Jones adds, laughing.

Different Retirement Paths

The co-authors themselves have taken — or are taking — different paths to retirement. After earning an MBA from Boston University, Inman held management positions in the corporate and higher education sectors, was a real estate agent in Florida and New Hampshire, and owned an import business of Guatemalan handicrafts. She stepped away from the career track twice to follow her dream of living on a boat, then retired for good in 2017 after two years in senior management with a Maine nonprofit.

Jones is an award-winning freelance writer specializing in health and medicine; she’s been self-employed since 1995. She turned 65 in 2018 and characterizes her retirement journey as a “glide path versus a hard stop” as she figures out what she wants retirement to look like for her.

“I’m downshifting, working fewer days a week, but I don’t yet feel ready to stop working entirely,” she says.

Inman got the idea for the book when she was planning her third and final retirement.

“Several friends and family members had retired around the same time, and their experiences ran the gamut,” she relates. “Some found it seamless and easy, some struggled for a while, and some never seemed to find their way and adjust to this new life phase.”

Inman found this diversity intriguing and wanted to learn more about women’s attitudes and emotions toward the process and reality of retirement — maybe turning it into a book. She approached Jones about teaming up to do so.

Common Themes Among Retired Women

Together, they developed a few open-ended questions and conducted phone interviews with retired female family members and friends. Common themes emerged like relationships, time management, life purpose, volunteering, exercise and health, spirituality and mortality, the guilt around doing “nothing,” daily routines, and sense of identity.

“Every woman we talked to said they thought we had a book in the making — one they wish had been available when they retired,” Inman says. “So here we are, reaching out to women across the U.S. and Canada and across the pond — we’ve already had a response from an expat in France — and asking them to share their wisdom.

“And who better to help guide you through this major life transition than a group of women who’ve been there, done that?” she adds.

To add your voice to this book, simply go to www.retirementvoices.com and complete the online questionnaire. Share what your retirement experience looks and feels like, what you’ve learned — and what you wish you’d known before you stopped working. Submission deadline is April 30, 2019. If your submission is accepted, you’ll receive a free copy of Voices when it’s published.

Questions? Email the co-authors at info@retirementvoices.com.

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply