When people think and talk about ‘Planning for Retirement,’ typically it is all about the financial piece which makes sense. We all need to consider setting up a secure future for home, healthcare, and such. Thankfully, I chose to marry a man who always had a clear, financial direction for us, and after years of hard work and sacrifice, we are reaping the rewards.
For me, though, ‘planning for retirement’ was more about lifestyle and how I would spend my time. And to be honest, I have been consciously moving in this direction since I was 26 years old. I can remember talking to older people in my life back then and listening to their stories. I watched how some struggled with the transition from worker bee to retiree, while others embraced the new-found freedom. My ‘ah-ha moment’ was recognizing that most people do not develop new hobbies later in life, and the time to start was now.
As I thought about my interests and activities at that time, almost all were sports related. Realizing that injuries or an aging body might preclude me from enjoying those things when I was older, I made a purposeful decision to explore new hobbies, such as photography and scrap-booking. And my natural enthusiasm to try and learn new things has allowed me to develop a wide range of interests over the years. I am so grateful for the lessons my older friends taught me so long ago.
In August of 2015, when Pat and I made the decision that I would resign at the end of that school year, I started a retirement list in the notes app of my phone. That might sound a little anal… okay, a lot anal!… but it was a place to jot down any and all ideas that popped into my head, totally unfiltered. If I thought it, I listed it, using these categories:
PROJECTS ~ ACTIVITIES ~ JOBS ~ LIFESTYLE CHANGES
I only occasionally actually look back on it, but when I do, it has been fun to check off the things I’ve tried or done so far! And laugh at some of the things that will never happen… like no dishes in the sink and no clothes on the floor! Ha!
When friends ask how retirement is going, I still get giddy when responding! Recently, I have even told a few people that I think I was ‘born to retire!’ It has been an interesting journey of mixed emotions (more on that soon) and a lot of self-reflection as Pat and I build this new life together.