Cheryl Greenberg - HeadshotCheryl Greenberg, Ed.D.

Dr. Cheryl Greenberg, Ed.D., works as a coach, or guide, for seniors and their families as they consider and plan for changes in their personal and work lives. Contact her at or 336-202-5669.

No matter how much we love our jobs, there are days when we look forward to retirement. We think about it when we are snuggled up in bed on a chilly winter day and don’t want to get leave our warm blankets. We think about it when the daffodils are blooming, and we picture ourselves sitting outside with a cup of coffee, watching the birds return from the south. Retirement looks wonderful.

We retire when the time is right. We enjoy open schedules and limited responsibilities. And then, after a while, we notice we are getting a little itchy, a little uncomfortable, a little undirected.

Social scientists call these feelings “the end of the honeymoon period.” At first, we were excited to be free of work demands, and then we feel a need for more structure. We were happy to leave an unreasonable boss or an annoying co-worker, but now we are missing contact with other people. We didn’t like work demands, but we need to feel productive.

Was retirement a mistake? No, but … after the honeymoon, being creative about next steps can enhance how we settle in and enjoy retirement.

Focus on the ways in which your new life is satisfying. Embrace your new freedom to come and go as you please. Feel the release from stress and demands of work. Think about the flexibility you have now in choosing your activities and planning your days.

Check your bucket list. What have you always wanted to do? Fulfill your dreams now. Go on that trip to the Northwest. Read your way through your book list. Plant your very first garden. Go fishing in the middle of the week!

Find new ways to contribute to the community. Find new social action projects by connecting with volunteer organizations who can match you with appropriate activities. Network with people in your faith community, your profession, local recreation centers, and national and local service organizations. Use the Internet to find new possibilities.

Volunteering and part time jobs will help you find ways to use your skills and, at the same time, socialize with people who share you interests.
Connect more often with friends and family. Reach out to folks you would have liked to see more when you were working. Meet them for tennis, a movie, a party, or just a cup of coffee.

Reach out to professionals for guidance and suggestions. Life coaches, psychologists, and counselors can help you identify your feelings and think through solutions. Retirement changes can be difficult to navigate. Professionals can help you create a happy and fulfilling “next stage of life.”

Retirement used to be reserved for the oldest people in our communities, for folks who could not continue to work. Today, retirement can be exciting and active. Notice and enjoy your new freedom from schedules and stress, and then create your own activities and pace. Enjoy your “retirement honeymoon.”

Dr. Greenberg would be happy to help you think through your plans for the future … both the practical and the emotionally satisfying.