Since retiring, having no schedule has dominated my thinking and planning. There is a luxury about waking up to a leisurely cup of coffee to be enjoyed while checking emails or reading in bed or sitting outside in the morning sunshine.
I think about the whole day stretching ahead and revel in the available hours to spend in pursuits that please me and nourish my spirit. I also realize that time can be wasted on useless activities and those precious hours between sunrise and sunset can be ‘lost’ forever. Like the waves on the lake I love to watch, time slips away.
The early phase of retirement has brought a sense of indulgence in the abundance of time. However, the habits established in this early phase will influence future actions and expectations. Taking the time to perceive life in a new way can set the foundation for stability and contentment in retirement. This is a time to start developing new routines and customs for the desired retirement lifestyle.
While rigid goals and definitive plans are to be avoided so that life can proceed with more ‘fluidity’ than was possible during the career phase of life, it is worthwhile to have some plans that will continue to promote self esteem and make you happy. Taking some time for self examination is essential.
Some ideas to consider for investment of precious time include:
- Hobbies — During the career phase of life many hobbies that gave pleasure were neglected because there was insufficient time. Now is the time to consider resumption of those hobbies that previously provided pleasure and also to consider beginning new hobbies.
- Travel — For many, retirement trips to exotic places in the world are now possible. Travel no longer needs to be restricted to those precious weeks of vacation.
- Taking courses — Learning new skills or deepening knowledge in areas of personal interest is another option. Many universities and colleges offer continuing education courses. Whether it is art history, birding or line dancing that catches your interest, there are courses available in classrooms in your community as well as online.
- Catching up on delayed projects — There are always opportunities to finish those jobs around the house and garden. Clearing up unfinished projects creates a sense of accomplishment.
- Volunteering — The satisfaction of giving back through involvement to support noble causes in your community is the way to keep meaning in life. Many people hesitate to get involved to avoid commitments and entanglements but they also miss out on the social benefits and rewards that come from serving others.
- Maintaining social connections — Investing time to interact with friends and family is like putting money in the bank. Although this is the last item on this list, perhaps this is the most important way of using time. Whether spent in nurturing existing social networks, developing new relationships or exploring new options for engagement with others, keeping a social network is essential. The literature on successful retirement states that social connections are critical in maintaining physical and emotional health.
For postworksavvy, enjoyment of the abundance of time means building on the wisdom of a lifetime, living every day with enthusiasm, and remaining focused on social engagement. Recognizing time as a precious commodity provides the basis for indulging in the abundance of time that retirement brings.
Postworksavvy invites your comments and ideas on successfully using time.