What I want to be when I grow up…

By Megan Giles, Retirement Transition Consultant

If you walk into a kindergarten or prep class and ask kids what they want to be when they grow up, their eyes often fill with wonder and you receive all sorts of inspiring suggestions such as an ‘astronaut’, ‘nurse for horses’, ‘adventurer’, ‘pirate’… The list goes on. Whether it’s a real job or one that hasn’t been created yet, it doesn’t matter – at that age anything is possible.

When does it change? When do we decide that we have to be more ‘sensible’? At some stage we are hit with a dose of reality and determine that we need more ‘practical’ career goals?

As we become older we strive to become accountants, lawyers, teachers, electricians and nurses. These are the types of jobs that provide financial security and before we know it the years have passed and we are well ensconced in a career.

But what happened to those original dreams of when we were younger? Have they completely disappeared or is there still a spark somewhere deep inside waiting to be ignite? There are some limitations as we age, for example we may not have the physical capability to become a Hollywood stunt person, but retirement does provide a fantastic opportunity to do more of the things that light us up.

Do you still have ideas that fill your eyes with wonder or are they tucked away in the deep recesses of your mind?

Sometimes the simple question and answer approach isn’t effective in drawing our true desires out – we feel too shy to articulate that ‘crazy’ idea, and we need to try something a little more creative. In this article I share three ideas for re-imagining the possibilities for enjoyment and meaning in your retirement. These ideas may seem a little ‘out there’ but bear with me…

If you have found yourself drifting in retirement, why not give one of these activities a go – what have you got to lose?!

Revisit your childhood dreams

Reflect on your childhood and teenage years. What were the activities you could lose yourself in for hours on end?  What were the subjects you studied at school, and what are your happiest moments - what were you doing at those times? Do these things still excite you now?

Describe your perfect day

If you could design the perfect day in your retirement what would it look like? Describe that day in detail starting with when you wake up and end when you go to bed. Try to avoid being limited by your current circumstances and allow yourself to dream. You might like to consider:

  • Where you would be
  • What you would be doing
  • Who you would be with
  • How you would feel
  • What you would not be doing (you can then ensure this doesn’t feature in your perfect day)

What do you notice when you start describing this day – what is it that matters most to you and that brings you joy?

Create a vision board

A vision board is any sort of board (be it paper, cardboard, electronic) on which you display images (from a magazines, newspapers or online) that represent the things that you want to be, do, or have in your life.

As the saying goes, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ and when we struggle to find inspiration or to make sense of our thoughts, a visual tool can be a great help to clarify what is important and fulfils us. 

For example, you might say that you want a more ‘fulfilling’ retirement. A noble goal, but can you articulate what that might look like on a day-to-day basis?  Is that camping, spending time with family, playing golf, volunteering or travelling? Fulfilment will look and sound different to each of us – what do you notice about the images that you select to describe the retirement you desire?

Now what?

Don’t be daunted by age of any expectations of sensibilities in retirement. The great thing about retirement is with the kids are grown up and the house paid off, you now have the time to inject some more spontaneity and adventure into life! 

Find that spark and ignite it!

Not sure where to start? The online world is unlimited and there’s a website, online forum or group for almost any interest imaginable and they enable you to connect with people or all ages and from around the world. Do a google search and see what comes up. You may also like to visit your local council, sport or community organisation website as a means of kick starting your new activity as many offer great introductory sessions for seniors.

If you enjoyed this article you might also like to read Regrets in Retirement and What Should Retirement Look Like for Women in Their 60s?

In planning for a holiday we always think “we need to go there” and “we should see that” but when Day One of our holiday arrives, we draw a blank…What were all of those things we were going to enjoy? In the busyness of life they’ve slipped our mind.


Don’t let this happen to your retirement. Download the My Retirement Planner and start capturing those ideas and inspiration so that you’re ready to step into retirement with gusto!

Source: www.oversixty.com.au