On the Edge of Something Bigger: Empowering Steps for Retirees Who Want More Meaning, Fulfillment and Fun

Anja Sassenberg-DeGeorgia

Forward Life Coaching, LLC (2019)


Available on Amazon.ca

Looking for an on-the-ground view of challenges in retirement and practical suggestions to create your own best retirement experience? On the Edge of Something Bigger: Empowering Steps for Retirees Who Want More Meaning, Fulfillment and Fun by Anja Sassenberg-DeGeorgia (2019) won’t disappoint.

Sassenberg-DeGeorgia got my attention at an online Retirement Options continuing education seminar. Her treatment of time in retirement – the daily, weekly, monthly and yearly flow – and the need to create structure after career resonated for me, so I bought her book.

On the Edge of Something Bigger is organized into three parts – attitudes and beliefs; high value activities; and, energy and time management – that lead to creating a vision and action plan. Well researched and thought provoking, Sassenberg-DeGeorgia covers familiar territory in retirement planning – values assessment, taking care of physical and emotional health, and the significance of service to others, social connectivity, and creativity to well-being. With that research also comes a fresh take on the familiar as well as areas like the stages of retirement and time use.

In retirement coaching literature it is not uncommon to see reference to the stages of retirement: pre-retirement, the retirement event, the honeymoon phase, disenchantment, reorientation and then settling into a new routine. Sassenberg-DeGeorgia, however, offers graphics of three transition paths showing how stages vary by work orientation. For instance, people who overextended themselves at work may start retirement with rest and relaxation, instead of a honeymoon phase. As Sassenberg-DeGeorgia points out, “Being informed about these natural stages might normalize what you are going through…”

And then there is how On the Edge of Something Bigger addresses the paradox of time in retirement. Yay! You have all the time in the world! But, most people after career “… struggle with the sameness of their days, missing the satisfying pattern of on/off events like vacations, business trips, weekends, project deadlines, and so forth, that separate time into distinct segments.” Sassenberg-DeGeorgia guides readers through time use analysis and suggests how to create a custom on/off rhythm. Although it may sound like the structure that you are looking to leave behind after career, I’m with Sassenberg-DeGeorgia when she says, “… by intentionally choosing boundaries around the basic things, you automatically create more space for enjoyable, bigger things.”

On the Edge of Something Bigger supports creation of a three-month vision and a companion 90-day action plan, a timeframe that is consistent with my own view that life after career does not need to be viewed as a whole – it does not have to be an all or nothing proposition. Few of us had a decades long view of our work lives when we started out. Why should this next phase in life be any different?

I bought On the Edge of Something Bigger because of Sassenberg-DeGeorgia’s approach to time after career and that section of the book delivered what I expected. What I didn’t expect was that the book would inspire a time management strategy for a 14-day quarantine period in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. When Sassenberg-DeGeorgia claimed that no matter how you read the book, you’ll be affected by the content, she delivered.

First Person

How COVID-19 Can Prepare You for Retirement

Returning to Canada after three weeks abroad my husband and I needed to quarantine for 14 days in our two-bedroom apartment. After three intense weeks with one another while away, we were ready to physical distance from one another. What to do? Anja Sassenberg-DeGeorgia’s On the Edge of Something Bigger inspired a solution.

From 8am to 6pm we divided the day into two-hour slots and the apartment into three work areas. Every morning we sorted out who got which work area and when we were operating under a cone of silence or when guitar practice and phone calls could happen.

Out of each other’s faces we didn’t get on each other’s nerves, got more done with two-hour focus times, and the days flew by. And we’re taking this forward to better handle time together in general.

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