First step, Plan less. Second step, slow down. So I am into the third step but not yet sure what to call it. I would always tell my clients that the first phase of retirement should be thought of as a vacation. The primary reason for this was the fact that vacations accomplish two things. First, they disconnect us from work. We need to stop reading the emails for a while and stop worrying about the day to day connection we feel at the work place. Second, they come to an end. As much as we want them to not do that, the reality is they do. While we are working we are controlled by the time clock, the requirements of the job and the need for the paycheck. In retirement those elements are gone. If we just retired to retire, there would be this tendency to never do anything again. The permanent vacation. Desirable image but not the reality anyone would truly live or thrive in. The need to move on dictates the need for the vacation to end.
So I am nearing the end of the first phase of my vacation. It has been incredibly relaxing and stress reducing. But here is the key. I have no intention of replacing one stress with another. I simply need to move into the next phase. I have always been about helping people meet their goals. I have spent a lifetime learning my trade and perfecting its processes. The next phase in my retirement will now involve me finding outlets through which I can continue to practice my trade, my purpose. The difference, no time clock, no job definition, no employer….no obligation.
So I am ready to name it. Retirement tip number three… wait for it… be picky. Once it is clear that your obligations have been removed and as your vacation phase is coming to an end, it is time to explore your outlets. But be picky. This is now your time and your choice. You have spent a career, actually a lifetime developing your purpose. Do not waste it …. nurture it. Stress free, passion driven, purposeful life. A zillion opportunities await from volunteering to entrepreneurship. Look for those that serve your need. Avoid obligation. Be picky. The future IS really yours.
I agree totally with your wanting to use your talents and do something useful, but not be stressed about it. After working 46 1/2 years, my retirement has been great. The first few months I slept in once in awhile, had coffee and read the paper in my pj’s, then babysat my grandsons a few years, remodeled my house, rejoined a church that I love and found a part time job for a few years. Now 17 years later, I am totally retired, go to lunch with friends, belong to two card cubs and no longer feel guilty because I am not working. Enjoy your retirement Ken, no matter how you plan to spend it, you’ve earned it!