It has almost been 5 years since I retired from teaching and I am still trying to find my groove. I almost wish there was some type of design or plan to follow to make the most of retirement life because right now I am sometimes feeling like I am on a “tilt and whirl” ride at the local amusement park. Which ever way I am tilted, that is where I go.
Having a plan, structure, or even order is the part that is missing in retirement and it is the part that I am struggling with the most. Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely, hands down, do love retirement, but….. The “but” part is the part that is not completing the picture for me.
While I was working, going to bed at night was pretty much the driver of my life. I went to bed knowing that tomorrow I would have to do this, this and this. Some tomorrows I dreaded, and some I was excited to tackle. But the point here is “tomorrow” seemed to focus me in going forward.
Now when I go to bed, I pretty much have no particular thoughts, because more often than not, I wake up and think….first of all, what day is it? Second, what should I do? Should I plan something, or should I just go with the flow and see how it unfolds. I am even now getting into a habit of creating a short “to do” list to ensure I accomplish a goal for that day. I like it because I like to look back and reflect on what I have accomplished, in addition to looking forward to a goal.
I know there is a segment of you out there that feel there is no need for this. You are happy. You are content. And life is great. But for those of us who are more structural oriented and task oriented, setting structure in place is a priority.
So I have some tips, if you are like me. Here is what I am finding that works for me:
- Create a 3 step goal lists for the day, or even for the week if you want more flexibility. This will aid in giving you a sense of accomplishment. I find that this works best for me. It can be as simple as follows: Book club meeting today Clean junk drawer in kitchen Buy new sofa pillows Checking these three things off works for me. It gives me that focus. Now you don’t have to do it every day like I said, maybe a couple days a week.
- Create a flow chart for the week. You can allocate for yourself how much time you want for leisure, for working around the house, for meeting with friends or having fun, for volunteering and/or for physical activity. This can be a way to keep you semi-structured.
- Take fun classes or get a part time job doing something you love to do for a few hours a week.
- Keep your structure stress free. When you start feeling the stress of doing things, pull back. Remember this is retirement. You have paid your dues.
Retirement are great years. And it is also a time of reflection where we often ask ourselves, “What now?” As we continue to get used to it, have fun with the enjoyment of doing things “Your way” and in “Your time”. If you just want to sit back and let life happen, do so…..you have earned it!