Retirement may look like the Promised Land until you get there. After a few weeks of catching up on sleep and chores, the freedom may morph into too much time alone with nothing to do. You miss the daily connections you had at work. You miss your familiar routines. You may even miss the work. You picture the days and weeks ahead with little or nothing planned and wonder “What do I want to be in retirement?”
Retirement has no structure. We’re free to choose how we use our time. At first there’s delight in having the time for projects long postponed or neglected and time to begin new ventures or hobbies. However, with no pressure or structure from outside the impetus to be disciplined or to go in new directions may evaporate. To have the kind of retirement you want will take courage and discipline.
Here are my suggestions for how to plan and enjoy retirement:
1. Think of retirement as a wonderful new beginning. It’s a time to be more relaxed and a time to pursue other interests.
2. Think of the first year as a time of transition. Be upbeat when possible but give yourself grace when you are at loose ends. Remind your self you’re adjusting to a whole new way of life.
3. Discipline your life. Make a flexible schedule of chores so you will accomplish the things you’ve always wanted to do. Let’s face it. Most of us are lazy and don’t get around to doing the things we should do. List the chores to be done. For example, you will do laundry on Monday, pay bills on Tuesday, shop on Thursday, and clean your home on Friday. Then stick with the schedule.
4. Schedule daily exercise. Take walks or join the Y for exercise classes. This is one of the best preventive medicines for aging there is. And you now have the time to really get in shape.
5. Revitalize your life! Pursue a new interest or learn more about an old one. Plan it, schedule it and follow your plan.
6. Give to others. We forget our own problems when we help those in greater need. Look for neighbors in need or offer to help your favorite charity.
7. Pay attention to your spiritual health and growth. Find a church that inspires and challenges you and be active there.
Grey hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life. Proverbs 16: 31