I have been telling my clients for years, I should say had been telling my clients (I will need to get used to that), that there were three “tions” (shuns) that make for a successful retirement.
The first tion is “vacation”. Every retirement should start with a vacation. Vacations are designed to let us disconnect from work. While we are enjoying our vacation we generally stop thinking about work. Some will be able to resist that temptation to look at their emails and voice mails and others will actually stop thinking about work altogether. The key to taking this first period as a vacation, is that vacations are always going to come to an end. This is not to say that the retiree can’t think of everyday from here on in as vacation, but its just not a reality. Life will pull us back in and that is where the next tion comes in.
While on vacation, I asked my clients to realize the next tion and that is “obligation”. For the retiree that obligation they felt each workday morning is now gone. There is no obligation any more. The retiree has the right to say yes to those things they wish to do and no to those they don’t. They can do things for money if they want, but they are not obligated to needing to be paid. Volunteering becomes something that now replaces punching the clock. And remember, volunteering means if and when I want to.
The third tion is “passion”. The biggest fear in retirement is wasting away. This is why the vacation can’t last forever and the only true obligation, is to oneself to find and exercise their passion. I have often asked people to tell me what they do that they are passionate about. The answer is often a description of the job they did in their career. But this is only what they did and not why they did what they did the way the did. I would have them think of a recent day at work where they came home with that smile nothing could wipe off. I then would ask them to visualize what they were doing that day. It is in that action that they will find their passion. Now it is their goal to exercise that passion in the things they do with their retirement. The beauty is that they have no obligations in their way and all the time they want to dedicate to their passion. They only need the outlet in which to express it.
So where am I in all of this? Have I heeded my own words. I have had the vacation or should say I am in week three of it and electing to stay on it for a little longer. I have definitely started enjoying the lack of obligation. I have even said no a couple of times already and for anyone truly familiar with me, they know I never really was good at that. So I am exploring my passion. I know what my passion is, see my earlier blog “Life as a Labyrinth”. I am now working on its expression. I know I have some opportunities to mentor, and maybe even some consulting, but I am ordained to being selective even picky about for whom and how that might happen. I am trying to balance my need to fulfill my passion with not becoming obligated into making it another career. For now I am content to talk with anyone who would listen to anything they want to talk about. Maybe I should just offer some retirement seminars. The art of successful retirement made easy. Stay tuned as even I am not sure where this is going. I only know I intend to savor the ride.