While the day you retire may be the “end” of a successful career, it is also the “beginning” of a new and wonderful life. There are many ways to enjoy life after retirement. It’s also possible to get stuck pondering what to do in retirement. So, here are three great questions you can begin wrestling with now – before you retire – so that when you do take that plunge, your plans are ready for an enjoyable retirement..
What do you want to experience in retirement?
Before you read on, take a moment to pause and just reflect a moment. Imagine waking up that first morning after retirement, with no alarm clock buzzing in your ear. You are laying there with the contentment that nobody is screaming at you to get a task done, nobody is waiting for you to finish a report, there are no deadlines looming, and there are no fires to put out. How do you feel?
Now, what does your ideal retirement look like? Maybe you dream of relaxing conversation with friends. Maybe you immediately think of traveling and experiencing new cultures. What experiences excite and invigorate you?
Whatever you decide your experience will look like, remember the grander the dream, the grander the price tag. Be sure you have financially set yourself up for success for the goals you’d like to experience once retired.
How will you grow in retirement?
Hopefully, your answer is not to grow wider, but rather think of ways you can grow deeper. Beware that it can be very easy to overeat in retirement because there are no set schedules to follow, and you may not have set boundaries for your food intake. You may have thought that “grow wider” comment was a little odd at first, but remember that once retired you’ll have a lot of extra time to find your way to the refrigerator. You need to be sure to counter that with exercise and wellness, because you have time for that, too.
Maybe even more importantly, think of how you want to grow deeper, perhaps spiritually. Retirement is a great opportunity for personal development. If you’re like me, there are many books on the shelf that you plan to read “one day”. That one day comes, finally, when you are retired.
Perhaps you want to spend more time in nature communing with God. Do it! Maybe you want to take up a new hobby and grow in that way. Maybe you’ve finally got the time to pursue music or art, to take a class, to write a book, or to enter public service.
Setting personal goals is important so that you don’t go aimlessly from one thing to another and really not accomplish anything. It can be helpful to have a planner or a schedule to follow, so that you do get in the things you’d like to do each day/week – reading, exercising, volunteering, or whatever they may be.
What will you contribute in retirement?
Everyone wants to feel needed, and with the extra time available to retirees, there are so many options available to fulfill that passion. Many people are fulfilled by contributing to society financially, finding just that right cause. If you have the resources, that’s great, maybe you can leave a legacy.
There are also ways to contribute with your heart, your life, and your time; and once retired you don’t have the time excuse anymore. So look around you, discover a need, and consider what you might do. What if your greatest contribution is yet to come?
Take time to ponder each of these questions, and jot down your own responses. Ask what your ideal retirement picture looks like, and give it time to come into focus. Don’t wait until the last minute to begin dreaming about and planning for your retirement days.
Remember, retirement is not the end of your life but the beginning of something new. No matter the age you retire, you are likely to have 20+ years of life to live. Don’t waste a moment of your happy ending. Keep yourself busy and involved from day one.
Maybe you can think of more helpful questions to ponder. If you do, I’d love you to post them in the comments below so the conversation can continue.