People often ask “What is the best part of retirement?” My first answer is “Freedom”. Sure we all long for that day when we have the freedom of choice with our lives. The thrill of choosing what you want to do and when you want to get up are indeed some of the best parts of retirement.
Initially after the first few weeks, months, or even the first year, after the thrill has worn off a bit, you get that creeping feeling of thinking “What now?”.
I am going to go so far as to say, “Retirement does indeed take some discipline.” The easiest thing in the world is to say, “Well, I didn’t get to it today, so I will do it tomorrow or the next day.” Let me tell you, there is a degree of danger in that. Danger, in the sense that you goal may never be achieved in a timely manner because, there is indeed, always tomorrow.
I am entering my fifth year of retirement and am now in the deep reflection stage. Retirement is my reality, which is cool. But, as I am looking around, I am becoming a bit concerned that I am not doing all that I want to do. I have gone from a person driven by disciple and schedules to a person who has absolutely no commitment to anything, other than pure entertainment. I realize there has to be a happy medium.
So as I look forward, which I am sure some of my fellow retirees are probably doing, here are some of my thoughts on being intentional in my life.
- On a weekly basis, look at my calendar and plan at least one intentional entertainment date, one community service commitment, one small project, and or one date to do something totally for myself. Examples of each of these could be: entertainment=dinner outing with friends. Community Service=volunteering at food bank, or going to local school to volunteer to have kids read to me. Small project=clean a closet or junk drawer. For me, I need to check things off. This would be a good way to do it. It could certainly be adjusted as you see fit, but at least start with a basic minimum, so you can see results.
- Look for a fun gathering to join, maybe twice a week to start with and increasing it as you see fit. It can be something as simple as a one time class with my local college, joining a class at my gym, or joining a book club.
- Pick one big monthly project to do at home and plan specifically how you will tackle it. If you are hands on like me, set up a schedule of how you want to go about completing it. For me, it would be to tackle my basement. I still have teacher boxes that I know I will never use. I need to go through them and give away or toss things. So my first step is to break it down how I will clean and organize my basement and put it on a timeline, so I will be more likely to stick with it. Remember, if you don’t reach your goal, just adjust it. Don’t quit. And if you are not inclined to do the work yourself, still plan and schedule how you will have it completed, who will do the job and how you will go about setting it up. But just do it.
I know I have written similar blogs in the past. But this definitely is a topic that we seniors need to address on a regular basis. We must be intentional in how we live and how we move forward. The alternative is to procrastinate and look back and wonder, “What did I do with my time?”
Retirement is what you make it! Choose the path that works best for you. These thoughts are just me talking myself up! And that works for me!