You’ve crossed the finish line: your children are out starting their own lives, you’ve retired from that job you had a hate-love relationship with, you’re ready… for what? After all, you now have 7 days a week, 4 weeks a month, 12 months a year, years to fill. So, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed. Humans are, after all, creatures of habit there’s always an adjustment period when adapting to a new normal. Here are five ways to help you build the retirement of your dreams and rekindle with the you who has always been young at heart:
Take a stroll down memory lane
But not to reminiscence about the good old days. We’re doing this to uncover all the things you used to enjoy. If you wrote diaries or journals, look back to passages you wrote years ago. Go through emails, birthday cards, letters and yearbooks. Then, start writing down lists of things you’ve always wanted to do, things you used to love doing and things you’ve always been passionate about. Here are some sample lists to help you get started:
- Countries to explore
- Classes to enroll in
- Foods to try out
- People to reach out to
Don’t forget to add items that are relevant to you today and to take off those that no longer interest you.Then, pick a few items from each of those lists and add them to the following lists:
- To accomplish today
- To accomplish next week
- To accomplish next month
- To accomplish this year
I recommend putting these lists in prominent places around your home so that they guide you in accomplishing the retirement of your dreams.
Write a To-Do-NOW list
It might sound corny but bucket lists are a good place to get creative and write everything & anything you’d love to get done. Feel free to uncensor yourself and let loose. Being retired means freeing yourself of past obligations and becoming responsible of your life, of what you want to accomplish. Here are a couple of questions that can get your list started:
What are the craziest things I’ve ever wanted to do?
What have I said “if only ____” to and can now accomplish?
Where have I always wanted to go or go back to?
Who do I want to spend more time with and doing what?
My friend/brother/cousin did _____ and I would really love to do that too.
Always remember to sprinkle a bit of I-have-to-add-this-to-the-list and you’re ready to get the ball rolling.
Connecting with loved ones
Babysitting your granddaughter, sipping wine on your cousin’s patio, bringing your wife to a fancy restaurant, calling a friend you haven’t spoken to in ages… all these meaningful interactions are just a conversation, a phone call, an email away. All those relationships you had to put on the back burner are now ready to be seasoned and prepared, delectable morsels of sunshine, laughs and memories just waiting to be made. Sometimes, we automatically assume that others are just too busy to be in our lives but everyone could afford to spend a little more time together. It just needs to be one person that makes the first move!
Branching out to other generations
Now, this may sound cliche but younger generations need you. They need to hear your experiences, they need your genuine help, your guidance, your advice. You name it, you can pay it forward. I recommend looking for organizations you would like to volunteer for. Create a ritual to call your daughter every Monday night. You can also choose to start an appreciation journal. This can help anchor you in a state of gratitude that you can share with others. Remember: what comes around goes around.
Connect with other retirees
Now this is about reconnecting with friends, past friends, acquaintances, the like. Find others who understand your situation, who understand what you’re going through and those who have questions you might be able to answer. Like the saying goes, two heads are better than one so do work with the like-minded. Also get in touch with people that will challenge you to think outside the box, people who have led different lifestyles and have different life experiences. Build a circuit of friends that know what you’re going through and can help you bring your retirement to the next level.
Do the things you’ve always done
Sometimes, there’s just no point in reinventing the wheel. Do what you love and find what you loved of your job in other places. Love painting? Take up lessons at a local gallery. Mesmerized by nature? Go on hikes in national parks. If you’re Canadian, national park passes are free this year. Always wanted to try something? Go for it: everyone’s afraid to do what they love but only those who dare to do so can reap the rewards.
My last words of counsel: picture the person you want to be and work towards being that person. It is never too late to lose weight, to pick up a new instrument, to travel, to fall in love all over again. You are at a crossroads in the great journey of life: just look to your inner compass and dare to go where your heart leads you. Wishing you safe – and the best of – travels!