OK, so now you are retired and you have time to do everything you’ve ever wanted to — but never had the time for. You’ve reached a point in your life where you can re-invent yourself and explore the loftiest heights of your inner creative abilities. Where to begin?
One thing I learned early on (and it was a rude awakening) is that you really don’t have any more time than you did when you were working a full-time job. There are still only 24 hours in a day and 60 minutes in an hour.
The trick is to realize that you need to set a plan for how you’re going to use that time. At first, the thrill of having 8-10 hours in each day that you can use as YOU choose — rather than spending those same hours earning a living — will be totally amazing. The temptation will be to simply to sit back and watch TV with a cool beer doing nothing but chilling. OK, don’t beat yourself up. Do it and enjoy without apology.
But use some of that time to dream about what you really want to do with your time. What exactly are your interests and passions? What will get you fired up? It can be an old childhood hobby or something new. Would that be to learn a new musical instrument, to invent a new gadget that will save the world, or paint a better painting than the Mona Lisa? Do you want to grow your own food? Perhaps woodworking? Or win a sporting competition? Perhaps, learn to parachute or learn to fly a Cessna Skyhawk so you can fly across country for dinner occasionally? If you can’t choose one interest, but have half a dozen things you’d love to be doing, that’s ok. Just make a list. Whatever you come up with, keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be exclusive or cast in stone…those passions and interests certainly can – and should – morph over time.
Maybe give yourself a day or two…or even a week. Daydream, set goals, envision what you want to leave as your legacy, imagine what you would like to do more than anything else now that you have time.
Then start from where you are. If you already know something about the interest you’ve chosen, good. Start there. You’re well ahead of the game.
If this is something new that you’ve never attempted before, a bit of research will get you started. The local public library, YouTube and Google can be your friends. Just be careful. This stage is to get you started. It doesn’t need to cost anything. Right now there all kinds of expensive lessons and private coaches that promise to speed you on your way. But, in most cases, you don’t need those. And, actually, getting bogged down in learning the how-to can stifle your growth.
First, you will find that adapting what you learn from a wide variety of resources to your own purposes will broaden your capabilities and visions. Such an approach will open new vistas for your own creative pursuit
Second, don’t believe that the best way is to find one teacher and stick with just that one. If you’re going to learn any skill or technique. Rather, look for dozens of different sources for that information. Exploring alternatives allows you to explore and develop your own unique style.
What you do need is to commit exploring the interest a bit and then getting down and dirty with hands-on practicing… With or without spending money for pricey instructions, you’re not going to get to the point where you actually enjoy your chosen field of interest until you do this.
I’ve learned that for me 20% of my time spent studying and watching others and 80% practicing and exploring on my own produces the most satisfactory results. At first you probably won’t be great — never mind if you’re a newbie or seasoned with years of training and experience. You may not finish any projects that you are happy with. Keep practicing and exploring. Do it yourself, listen, observe and evaluate whatever you do. Keep looking for ways to do whatever you do better.
Never, ever compare yourself with anyone else. You’re striving for your own unique best. Remember, copying others will result in inferior levels of satisfaction — assuming you want to release your own creative genius.
How have you begun the process of building an exciting new you in retirement? What steps have you taken to achieve your unique creative best? I’d welcome your insights and tips on how to make retirement the best years of your life.