By Megan Giles: Retirement Transition Consultant
First published by Over 60 [Link: www.oversixty.com.au]
Retirement is all about slowing down and finally having time to do the things you have always wanted to do. You count down the days but when retirement actually arrives, the pace of life can be a bit of a shock, especially when you have come from a demanding job in which people depended on you to make decisions, achieve outcomes and to develop others. You thrive on pressure and deadlines and now you feel a little... lonely and lost. You don’t feel needed and the days seem never-ending.
Before you panic and start looking for jobs, take a moment to reflect and recognise that a less full schedule does not make you any less worthy as a person. Acknowledge it for what it is – a well-deserved opportunity for you to enjoy the things you truly take pleasure in.
Celebrate the fact that you have time to do the things you want to do properly. When you were working your mornings probably meant that you wore whatever was clean and ironed, drank your coffee as you commuted, paid your bills and organised birthday presents during your lunch break, and if you were lucky squeezed in a gym visit on the way home. One of the lovely things about retirement is that it allows you to truly live in the moment rather than rush from ‘A’ to ‘B’.
Make a ritual of your daily activities. You might like to create a wake-up routine which involves a leisurely cup of coffee and a proper read of the newspaper (not just the headlines!) or you may like to walk rather than drive to coffee, chatting to neighbours and admiring the greenery around you as you go. You have the time. Stop, smell the roses and enjoy the simpler things!
That said, if you are starting to climb the walls at home, the following suggestions will get you on your way to a retirement you love to live!
1. Plan one activity for each day.
As a starting point even if it is just to do the grocery shopping, it will provide some purpose to your day and will ensure that you interact with at least one other person. You never know who you may bump into when you are out and about
2. Try five new things.
Make a list of five new activities you would like to try and schedule them over the next two months. It might be cycling, singing, learning a language, gardening or volunteering. Avoid recreating the busyness of your former work life by cramming everything into just one week and allow yourself things to look forward to over the coming weeks. Not only do new activities provide structure to your days but they keep the brain active– something that is so important as we age. Don’t want to go solo? Invite a friend along!
3. Take the lead!
If you can’t find an activity or group within your local community that tickles your fancy consider starting your own group, be it a book club with friends, a walking group with your neighbours, or a regular ukulele jam session with other musicians.
4. Give yourself permission to have a lay-about day.
Isn’t this the thing you often yearned for as you commuted to work? This is not going to be an everyday occurrence and having one lay-about day is not going to make you sloth-like. Declare your intention out aloud and schedule it into your diary, i.e. make it a proper activity with a specific date and dedicated time. If you feel as though you need more structure for your lay-about day, create an outcome and decide what book you are going to read or movie you are going to watch.
5. Create a ‘to do when I retire list’.
In planning for a holiday we always think “we need to go there” and “we should see that” but when the first day 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. A useful tool to capture those ideas and inspiration as they come to you, or as suggested by others, is the My Retirement Planner. A ready-made list of ideas will help to ensure that you are not at a loss on those quiet days.
I wish you the very best on your journey,
If you enjoyed this article you may also like to read Checklist for planning your social life in retirement and There's more to retirement planning than superannuation.
The road to retirement can be a little bumpy, so rest assured if you are feeling a little lost and overwhelmed, you’re not alone. BUT, there are things you can do to smooth the way and create a retirement that you are excited to grasp with both hands!
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