How to Make the Most of Your Retirement

Dreaming about sleeping in, staying up late having that extra glass of wine? The glorious days of retirement!  You can hardly wait!

Remember that feeling towards the end of your vacation and going home didn’t seemed so bad?  Retirement can be the same for many of us.

Having the luxury of time so that you can begin a new chapter in your life is exciting but also challenging. For many, retirement is not what it is cracked up to be. With some soul searching and a plan, it can however, be your chance to live your best life now.

Initially the freedom is wonderful and a joy, but once the honeymoon stage is over how will you fill those days so that you will continue to be excited?

Free time allows for a world of opportunities. You will find that once your community of family and friends realize you are now retired, they will have lots of ideas for how you can now spend your day. Be cautious, as it is very easy to overextend yourself right out of the gate.

Before you retire, set a date,  whether it is 3 months, 6 months or one year to be completely free before make any firm commitments. Give yourself that time to discover how this next chapter of your life will play out.

Once you finally reach the point where being in your pj’s all day gets old (and it does, really) follow these steps:

  • Write out a plan for yourself.
  • List the categories of how you want to spend your time.
  • Then make sub categories of opportunities within those categories
  • For example, if a category is “spending more time with your grandchildren” then sub category might be “volunteer in their classroom” or Go to library readings each week, attend school activities” and so forth.
  • List the action steps necessary to begin making these activities part of your life. If you have always wanted to learn to paint with watercolors for example, then list that. Then begin researching classes available.  Find groups of people with similar interests and see if they might be a match The internet makes this a very simple process. 

It helps to set a routine and a schedule. I know this sounds exactly like the opposite of what you have been dreaming about, but all those dreams and plans you have had won’t just happen. It requires work to have fun! Fun just doesn’t magically appear.

If you find that you aren’t entirely sure just what you want your retirement to look like, take some time to reflect back on your working days. Think about what you actually loved about your job? Was it being the expert, being responsible, having projects with deadline, people looking up to you and relying on you?

Once you have identified what is important to you, look for activities that will continue to meet those needs and wants without the commitment of a full time job.

This new chapter is a long time coming and brings with it a blank canvas for you to paint as you wish! Choose your colors wisely!


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