Life can only be lived happily ever after on a day-to-day basis.
—Ernie J. Zelinski
Before finalizing the decision to retire, I spent a great deal of time thinking about how I wanted to live during the post work or third phase of life. Intentions were framed around happiness and contentment through freedom to pursue new interests, learn new skills, explore various hobbies, and renew friendships. Tactics that involved setting rigid goals and making plans with timelines for achievement were rejected in favour of a lifestyle that sought creativity through living in the moment and savouring each day for its inherent joy. In short, my intention was to ‘go with the flow’.
Now that I have retired, how do I realize these intentions? It is commonly accepted that the unconscious mind will work toward actualization of those things that are attended to by the conscious mind. A favourite yoga teacher has frequently stated “what you think about, you bring about” to encourage positive attention to thoughts and mindful awareness of how we unconsciously shape our lives.
Understanding that well managed intentions have the power to shape your life is an important first step. Articulating intentions and visualizing the result of achieving the intention begins a process of making the intention real for you. Whether it is as simple as slowing down enough to enjoy a favourite piece of music or mastering a new skill that requires study and practice, intention must be voiced and visualized for it to become real. Only when it is powerfully incorporated into your awareness does it begin to influence how you live.
Realizing the power of positive desires requires clarity. General yearning for happiness and contentment is universal. Stating how happiness and contentment will be realized in your own life is highly individual. There is no universal formula — no roadmap, no recipe for happiness.
For intentions such as happiness and contentment in retirement to morph into reality requires you to reflect on your life aspirations. Identifying positive choices and desires that will help you to find your version of happiness and contentment is necessary. Will you learn new skills, renew friendships, take up hobbies, travel, attend to health/nutrition/fitness?
Making a commitment to take action — to take matters in your own hands and build your post work life into one where you are moving in directions that meet your definition of happiness and contentment seems easy. The difficulty comes in taking the actions, in taking risks, in building new patterns of behaviour when there is no external imperative. The push must come from within — from your internal desires and your internal resources.
For postworksavvy, it is important not to postpone our happiness. Life keeps moving forward with daily challenges — health or finances or relationships or regrets. The trick is to move beyond these challenges and keep focused on the vision — the intention — of how you will live your retirement dreams. There will be missteps including re-thinking and revising the dreams to fit with new realities — especially when faced with unanticipated changes in health, relationships, or living circumstances that may require lifestyle adjustments.
Postworksavvy urges you to stay focused on your intentions and, through the intentions, on your vision of retirement. For me it is to focus on the lovely life I am able to lead now work commitments are gone. Today I awoke to the perfect day — warm temperatures, a cloudless sky, an endless sandy beach, cool lake waters, and, best of all, no expectations, no schedule, and no commitments. Not every day will be like this but I realize that the time to be happy is right now. There is no time for postponement, the time is now!
How are you keeping your retirement dream alive? How do intentions shape your life? Please send your comments on how you are achieving the intentions you set as you decided to retire and live life differently.
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