You’re never too young (or old) to start thinking about your retirement, and I don’t mean the money part of it. Not to say that isn’t important, but there are plenty of articles, resources, and information about the financial side of retirement planning. What I don’t see a lot of is planning for the kind of life you want. What your days will look like in between sleeping and meals. What happens when playing golf for a week straight, shopping, or reading book after book loses its appeal. What happens when you’re bored, restless, tired of babysitting the grandkids, or feeling unproductive. When the honeymoon period of retirement is over, what’s the plan?
If you’re working (or parenting or caregiving) now, you’re probably thinking — if only I had time to do those things, to travel, to wake up late, to have an obligation-free day. But for those of us who are currently in this phase of life, it’s hard to truly grasp what a future of obligation-free days would be like.
Though I’m not speaking from experience as a retiree, I’m a person who likes to make plans. I feel better about my day when I have a plan in mind for it, which also means I don’t know what to do (and get slightly anxious) when I have an entire day with no obligations or plans. I can only imagine the sense of anxiety I might feel as I face unscheduled days with no end in sight.
We all know people, famous or familiar, who’d rather not retire because they love their jobs — or the sense of purpose and structure it lends — so much. In this recent feature article, I wrote about Rosa Finnegan, a woman who is 100 years old and has arthritis but still goes to work in a factory every day. There is something to be said for having a retirement life plan, even if that means working indefinitely.
C.S. Lewis, one of my favorite writers, said this: “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” Goal-setting and dreaming. Whether C.S. Lewis intended it or not, I believe these are the keys to a successful retirement life. I look forward to setting as many goals and dreaming as many dreams as I’d like when I’m retired.
Your turn: What are your retirement dreams and goals?