We have volumes of materials on how to deal with the symptoms of ADHD in school and in the workplace. But have we considered ADHD in the so-called retirement years?
More people than ever are retiring from their major life’s work and wondering what to do with the rest of their lives. Since many are leaving their careers at younger ages, analysts predict that this group will not be seen rocking on the porch waiting for its favorite game show to start. This high-achieving group has no intention of fitting in to the old image of a retiree. Instead, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that “due to the aging baby-boom generation, workers ages fifty-five and older are expected to make up over one-quarter of the labor force in 2022.”
If we think about the lifespan in chapters, we see that there are five:
- The Young Student
- The Post High School Student
- The Young Worker
- The Major Work Achiever
- The Post Work Selector
Many adults with ADHD have spent years with tutors, coaches, medication, counseling, and strategies in order to maximize our strengths while minimizing our challenges. Yet all too often we totally ignore doing any planning, creating any support systems, and giving any thought to what will make the fifth chapter—the "retirement" years—the best one yet.
Time to reevaluate ourselves!
As we did for chapters one through four, adults with ADHD need to undertake a systematic process and reevaluate ourselves, noting current strengths and then mapping out a plan that will do more than simply fill time.
If we were wise early in life—or had the benefit of others around us who were wise—we systematically gathered facts about ourselves. This information pointed us toward an area of life work that would allow us to shine and be the best version of ourselves. With such knowledge, we'd be self-aware enough to know what works for us and what doesn’t—and (equally important) why. We would then be able to make better life and career choices and accomplish more of our goals.
A systematic approach to career and life planning would look like this:
- Understand how our interests, skills, and accomplishments together match with certain job clusters in the World of Work.
- Evaluate our personality, values and aptitudes in order to identify how these factors add into the layers in #1.
- Identify how our early career dreams, energy/focus patterns and school/work habits add into the mix of #1 and #2.
- Look at our success/challenge patterns to see how they have affected schooling and/or work histories. Identifying patterns (using #1- 3) is essential to problem-solving and conquering the barriers.
- Develop a concrete plan based upon the “hard data” of putting layers 1-4 on top of each other, with the knowledge that there is now sound reason to believe the plan will work.
- Establish a plan for long-term support, identifying strategies, accommodations, and modifications needed for continued success.
Wouldn’t taking the time to reevaluate our strengths and challenges again result in better and more exciting choices? Think of the possibilities!