In a few short months, we turn the calendar and start again. Are you ready for the new year? Would you like to do something different? The issue we’re going to be talking about today deals with retirement and it ties in with the new year in a very significant way.
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“The trouble with retirement is that you never get a day off.” Abe Lemons
I picked this quote because I’ve talked with people at all stages of their life that have different views of what it means to retire. Folks in their 20’s say, “When I retire, i’m heading to the beach to sit in the sun and drink fruity drinks with umbrellas in them. folks that are heading closer to retirement say, “I’m going to do the things I’ve always wanted to do.”
So how is that connected to the new year? When I’m doing career coaching, I often do this exercise that helps people discover retirement now. I ran this with my staff the other day.
- On a 3×5 card, I had them answer this question. “if tomorrow was your first day of retirement, what could you see yourself moving into.” Take a longer view. Not just “Go to Cancun” But I mean, longer term. “what would get you up and out of bed in the morning?” Then they’d write that down. We gathered the cards and one of our staff read the answers to the group. We had to guess whose card was whose. The answers were great! On person said, spend all of my time volunteering at an animal rescue shelter. One person said research and live the monastic lifestyle. Another said, write a book. That was fun guessing
- Then I asked, “Why not do that now?” The table fell silent. Why do we think we need to wait until retirement to chose to do the things we love to do. Yes you have responsibilities at work or raising a family, but are there aspects of what you really want to do in retirement that you can do now? If volunteering at an animal rescue shelter makes you come alive, start just one a month on a Saturday. If working in the ground or playing music makes your soul sing, find ways to do that now. If you’ve always wanted to write a book, go to bed an hour earlier to wake up an hour earlier and write your book. You don’t have all day to do it if you’re not retired, but you do have extra time in your day. Early morning for me is when I meet with God, reflection prayer but then I dive into personal writing projects, before I get the kids going and move into my schedule.
Often, retirement isn’t necessarily doing something different, but be able to shed the things you don’t want to do. For me, I love writing, speaking, career coaching, Leading… My role in leading a large organization also includes administrative work and lots of meetings. I may be rare, but I actually enjoy those pieces as well. But When in retirement, I’ll continue doing writing, speaking and those things, but I’ll move out of the parts of my job that i’m not the greatest at and that don’t necessarily make me come alive.
So ask yourself the questions, “What do I want to do in retirement?” and then “What aspects of those activities can I incorporate into my life today.” You might not be able to do them at work, but you have plenty of time before or afterwards. You just might need to shut off the tv. okay
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