Updates from new blog at www.nextchapternewlife.com/blog/

Friday, December 5, 2008

Retire? I have to keep working since: I don’t know what to do

Really? If your kids were saying the second half of that sentence you'd give them a bad time about finding something fun to do. You'd send them to their room to find a game or outside to enjoy nature. Its time to do that for yourself.

Yet,I totally understand where you're coming from. I spent years working 60 hour weeks and traveling almost weekly. Work and life balance had no meaning to me. How can you balance something completely weighted on one side with nothing on the other? I found three day holiday weekends a struggle. I could fill up two days easily with the various catch up chores of life, but if you added another day, I was toast. When I retired at 49, I had numerous people predict I'd be back in a year. They knew I loved my work and they also knew I didn't really have too much else going on in my life. Huhh. Little did they know!!

There are a few things you need to calibrate to help you with this problem. 1- You need to redefine retirement 2 – You need to discover the world of a million possibilities 3- You can't just sit on your duff and expect a solution to fall out of the sky. So, my friend, lets take each point here and more fully explain my message.

  • Redefine retirement. In past times, retirement meant stopping working, going home and stopping being a viable contributor. People in that group, no matter their background or intelligence, became marginalized, less valuable. In a large part, they contributed to that image. But your retirement means one primary thing: the freedom to do what you want, however you want to do it. Oh man, that's huge. Never in your life have you had an opportunity like this. As a kid, you had to finish school. If you went to college, you had to get the degree. As a worker, you had to support yourself and probably a family with all the trimmings. But now, no prescription, no recipe, no counselor pointing out colleges. It's just you. That means if you want to work but just not full time, you can. Or if you want to be a bass fishing guide four months out of the year, you can do that too. If you want to finally volunteer overseas, go for it. And if you need some income, just not as much as you're making now, then start thinking outside of the box. If you could do whatever you wanted to do, what would it be? As an adult, we learn by doing, so you may not have all the answers before you give yourself the pink slip. The main point is to start thinking, make a plan. If you need to adjust the plan, adjust it and keep doing things until that AHA! Moment takes place and you realize you have stumbled on to your own version of heaven.
  • Discover the world of a million possibilities. Has your dream muscle withered away? Remember when you were young and ridiculous? You had a million dreams, one day you were going to publish a book, the next day you were going to be a police officer. Each dream was exciting, filled with infinite possibility. You need to get back into the dream gym and start working out dude, you're getting flabby.
  • Two things to do: 1- Here's an exercise. Think back to the time when you were truly excited about something you were planning to do. How did that feel? What was it about the plan that got you charged up? List the characteristics of that experience. Was it a new job assignment where you got to travel? Was it when you moved to another state, that you had always loved? Were you going to be able to work with your sibling? Now are the juices flowing? What other kinds of things would get you going? Add these items to the list. 2-Here's another exercise, do it,,you aren't tired yet!! Take the thread of even the tiniest item of interest and start researching it. Go out on the Internet and Google it to see what it brings up. See what other things are related it to. Go expose yourself to these things. Sign up for a class, or go talk to someone who does these things and find out what they like. It's almost shocking to see how much is out there for us to do. If you are sitting out there saying you aren't really interested in anything,,that just won't do. There are things in your life that interest you. I have a friend who said that to me a few years ago. She was a gal who loved fine jewelry, she now makes jewelry. You simply have to look at what you do as a place to start.

Wheww! Are you working up a sweat? You have much more to do, but I leave you with an expansion of my last point.

  • Your future won't fall into your lap out of the sky. You must take responsibility for your future. Only you can decide to make your life exciting or ho-hum. Even not making a decision, is a decision. Pick a time each week, an hour or an amount you know you can consistently devote. Put that time on your calendar. Make your future a priority, keep your appointments. Take that time and start mapping out your future. Do your researches, make those calls, enroll in a class, meet with a coach, start day dreaming, but whatever you do, take action.

In summary, just know that working is fine when you are ready to retire. But continue to work because you love it, not because you don't have something else to do.