The Dangers of No Lifestyle Structure

Kelly lives alone. Her condo looks over a pond. In the mornings and evenings, deer come and feed around the lake. Kelly loves to watch the deer. Each week the community lawn care company cuts the grass around the area, and on many occasions, Kelly is waiting. She chides them not to cut the grass too low, because the deer will have nothing to eat. Watching the deer is very important to her because she does not have much other structure in her life. 

Retirement can be a time of great freedom and opportunity. But for some people, it can also be a time of challenge and uncertainty. One of the biggest challenges that retirees face is a lack of structure.

For many people, their work provides them with a great deal of structure. They have a set schedule to follow, a set of tasks to complete, and a set of goals to achieve. This structure can be very helpful in providing a sense of purpose and direction in life.

When people retire, they often lose this structure. They no longer have a set schedule to follow, a set of tasks to complete, or a set of goals to achieve. This can be a major adjustment, and it can lead to a number of challenges. Life can become very one dimensional, very patterned, and unengaged. Like Kathy, seemingly trivial activities like watching deer, can become a major source of life construct.

On the other hand, people repel the idea of retirement because structure brings meaning and purpose. Therefore, address the “structural challenges” now to keep a meaningful life intact.


When people are used to having a busy schedule, they can find it difficult to adjust to having a lot of free time. This can lead to feelings of boredom, restlessness, and even depression.

Loss of Purpose

When people’s work is no longer a major part of their lives, they can find it difficult to find a new sense of purpose. This can lead to feelings of emptiness and a lack of direction.

No Goals

Work often brings goals and strategy. There is no reason to stop doing that on a personal level when you enter post-career life.

Financial Uncertainty

Not understanding how well your portfolio can work for you may lead to uncertainty on what activities to plan.

Social Interaction

To have relationships, you need to invest the time in them. It is easy to let friends and family drift away when there is a lack of structure in life.

Coping with the Challenges

Retirement can be a great time of life. But it is important to be prepared for the challenges that come with it. By creating a new structure for their lives and finding a new sense of purpose, retirees can make the most of this new chapter in their lives.

Here are a few more things that can be done now to help to cope with the challenges of a lack of structure in retirement:

  • Stay connected with friends and family. Social interaction is important for mental and physical health.
  • Get involved in activities that you enjoy. This could include volunteering, taking up a new hobby, or traveling.
  • Set goals for yourself. Having something to work towards can help to give you a sense of purpose.
  • Take care of your health. Eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep are all important for staying healthy and active in retirement.

By following these tips, you can make the most of this new chapter in your life. You can enjoy the deer as well as all the other things in your life. 

The Post-Career Lifestyle Planning Audio Series

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