To help cope with the aspects of change for individuals in retirement and to increase awareness about retirement planning to those who are yet to get retired, Royal Society for Senior Citizens (RSSC) conducted a workshop about meaningful retirement in Thimphu yesterday.

Former minister Kinzang Dorji shared his retirement experience. He said that he never thought of retirement, as he was always busy in work.  After one of the most successful careers in the country which included serving the country as prime minister twice, he retired at age of 56.  “After retiring in April 2008, I relaxed for a few months but after that I started becoming restless. At the same time I realised things I didn’t before.”

He said that while in service, the worker’s world extends to the whole world. “However, after retirement, your world shrinks to only your family and extended family. It taught me the principle of impermanence.”

Without driver, messenger, posh office, meetings, and personal assistants, there is sudden change in the person who used to work about 15 hours a day to doing nothing, he said.

This change, he said, could affect the mental health of a person if the individual is not physically or mentally active.

Family support was the most important in overcoming the phase, said Kinzang Dorji, alongside keeping oneself busy to cope with the drastic change. “I tried focusing myself on reading and archery.”

During a group discussion at the workshop, one of the participants who is yet to retire in a few months, said that he had been unable to sleep in recent months. “I always wonder what to do with my life after retirement.”

Another participant said that he retired in 2015. “After the retirement, I was told to stay at home but then, after some time, I started feeling depressed.”

He had to find a job to make himself feel useful.

Former chief trade officer, Dophu Tshering, 60, said that the workshop was crucial as it helped create awareness among those who are yet to retire and those who retired recently. “Not many civil servants prepare or plan for the retirement which is very important if one must lead a happy and a peaceful life.”

He said that not all retirees might succeed in overcoming the major change, but one could always plan to cope with the challenge that comes with retirement.

RSSC’s secretary, Nima Wangdi, said that more people were retiring now.

The workshop discussed planning and time management, healthy ageing, finance planning and coping with changing shift of life, among others.

ADB funded the workshop.

Rinchen Zangmo