When I was younger and actively involved in earning a living, I looked forward to retirement. I had this belief that when I got older I’d have all kinds of time to just be lazy and do whatever I felt like doing (maybe even nothing). I also dreamed of being able to pursue all the interests and activities I enjoyed…music, art, writing. I envisioned that it would actually take several lifetimes in order to do everything I wanted to do back then.
That turned out to be partially true. Retirement doesn’t equate with being lazy. In fact, now that I’ve attained that golden age, I’ve discovered that I have the same amount of time that I had in years past…The difference is that now I can do the work I choose to do. I’ve found that now I’m actually much busier than ever.
The good thing is, I don’t have to meet other people’s schedules. I can actually dictate how I am going to spend my time. I have a dozen projects working at any given time now. At the end of the day, before I lay my head down on that pillow, I find myself thinking….but I didn’t get everything done that I’d planned.
You may have discovered this too. Adjusting to retirement requires that we evaluate our personal goals and develop a schedule and a focus on making our time as productive as it can be. The focus does change but the need for schedules is every bit as important as ever.
What are the projects that you dearly want to work on? What is so important to you that you can’t wait to get up in the morning and start doing?Do you want to crochet? Learn to paint like Rembrandt? Hone your skills playing the piano or another musical instrument of your choice? Work in the garden or build furniture? Be specific but choose your passions.
Do you have one interest that you’re passionate about? Or do you want to pursue several interests at the same time? Questions of generalization vs specialization are just as important now as they were when you were pursuing your career.
How can you manage your time to learn new skills…challenge the skills you already have…finalize the projects you choose to pursue? It’s easy to get caught up in all sorts of activities that may get in your way. Remember, in this information age, it’s easy to let email or tv serials and such sap your energy and time. You can, and should, become much more protective about what you allow to invade your personal space. You can, and should, be willing to say “No, I’m not going to get sidestepped by anything that interferes with what’s important to me”.
Discipline will be your friend. Once you’ve started pursuing your passions, you may soon discover that you’ll get caught up in “the flow”. You will get started on a given project and before you know it the sun has set and you just don’t want to stop. But of course, your life still needs some sense of balance. You may decide, for example, that you’ll work on your project every morning and when it’s time for lunch, you’ll set that aside and start a different project or spend the rest of the day reading, meditating or exercising.
Retirement is a special time of life. It’s a time to pursue your passions. If you have found what you are passionate about, you can keep going. For example, if you have been a career writer…now you can explore the possibility of different writing styles. If you’re an artist, you just keep painting but now develop your skills and explore various other styles or materials. If you haven’t, then check out all the countless options that are available to you. Even something as basic as finding ways to recycle all the stuff accumulated in your life can be exciting.
Finally, you can focus and use that precious time doing what matters and not have to tie it to accumulating wealth. How liberating is that?