Fear of Commitment in Retirement

I made a decision recently to start attending church again. It was huge decision and I took a lot of time to decide if this was what I wanted to do. For me, going to church requires a commitment. The reason I’m sharing this with you is I see a lot of people who have a fear of commitment in retirement.

Fear of commitment usually implies being afraid to commit to another person. I’m not talking about that kind of commitment. The number one thing people crave in retirement is time freedom. After a lifetime of having to get up every morning to ‘be’ somewhere, people love the freedom of morning coffee without the stress of having to rush somewhere.

There is nothing wrong with savoring all that life has to offer. In fact, that is one of the blessings of retirement. While slowing down the pace and enjoying the moment have their place, it can easily turn into withdrawing from life.

Finding the balance to stay engaged in living, involved in the community, as well as time freedom takes experimentation. Instead, I see many people who refuse to volunteer, for example, for fear they will end up over committing, won’t be able to get out of it and then will be trapped again in a life they don’t want.

That can happen to any of us. Isn’t it also true than there are very few things you can’t actually get out of if you really want to? The key is to have a bit of plan, but also a willingness to adapt and change.

I was raised in a church that demanded weekly attendance unless you were attending a funeral-your own. I like my Sundays and am reluctant to give them up completely, but, also realize that I want church in my life also. The compromise is to attend church two times a month. I can renegotiate with myself any time I want.

The same is true for you. Look at every commitment as negotiable and start out with short-term projects, versus long-term time obligations. If saying ‘no’ is the problem, look at the underlying concern. One of the nice aspects of growing older is we’re less concerned about what people think of us. Are you afraid people won’t like you if you say no?

I feel good about my about my decision to go back to church. I’m glad I didn’t let my fear of commitment blind me to something that’s important. Are you afraid to commit to something in retirement? What will be the benefit if you take the leap?

About Cathy Severson

Cathy Severson helps baby boomers find more meaning and purpose in their lives and work. Get your copy of her complimentary e-book Guide to Retirement Activities a comprehensive look at work, volunteering and leisure based on an individuals’ personalities. Call for a complimentary 20-minute consultation to answer your most pressing concern. 928.775.4949 or email Cathy at retirementlifematters@gmail.com

2 Responses to “Fear of Commitment in Retirement”

  1. Cathy: Great article that I can identify with. We have been retired seven years. When we volunteer it is for short term activities, like collecting items for food drives, rummage sale fundraisers, or donating to local group homes. We do not join any organizations, as we learned years ago from experience, they demand commitments and monthly meetings. We attend a church but are not members. We’ve learned from experience that “joining” anything makes you obligated, is demanding and time consuming. We’ve already been there and done that. We are active in biking, and outdoor activities and spend much time online. I agree, there are many retirees who withdraw from community, etc. focused only on family activities, eating out with close friends, travelling. They say they’ve “done their share when younger” and others are only involved with church.

  2. Thanks for sharing. You are a perfect example of how people are creating their own version of retirement.