You’re finally retired, but now what? In a way, your future depends on how you answer this question: did you retire from a job, or did you retire to a new lifestyle? For many people it’s hard to let go of their past and that, to some degree, is understandable. After all, it’s possible that you spent decades building your career and saving as much money as you could to enjoy this time as much as possible. That was certainly true for my wife and me. We both worked very hard, and the demands of work seemed to take precedence over our day to day living at times. That actually wasn’t the case, we kept our priorities in order, but it certainly seemed our careers caused a few rough spots in our ability to enjoy life to the fullest. And, in full disclosure, that was much more the case with me than my wife. I couldn’t wait to be retired and that seems to be a very popular feeling during your final working years.
But what we have noticed with many recently retired people is that they seem to have lost their way a bit. While they worked, their days were filled with meetings, business trips and conference calls but now there’s a void. Those are the people I describe as having retired from something. They retired from being a lawyer, accountant, teacher or construction worker and are happy to have that all behind them. But some of them failed to look ahead to make sure they retired to something. They didn’t plan on how to take up all their free time with hobbies, volunteering or other interests. That ability to look toward the future keeps us young and active, motivated and passionate. Whether it’s a new house in a new area, a new interest or hobby, or a renewed passion for an activity or a cause, having something to look forward to is incredibly important to keep a healthy outlook and getting the most out of life.
We are incredibly fortunate because we have found being retired to be even better than we had imagined. We retired to a beautiful lake community in Athens, New York and had the adventure of designing and building a home which still seems like new after three years. I still have not gotten tired of having a lake in our backyard and seeing mountains in the distance. Exploring the area and finding new favorite restaurants has been even better than we could have imagined. That was after a year of sheltering inside because of the pandemic.
With our winter escapes to warmer climates, I have not even found the time to take up a new hobby or interest. Although I would like to be better at golf, I suppose that desire has not been strong enough to get me out on the course. We have discovered boating and now have a small pontoon for our lake, and I finally have enough time to enjoy my all-time favorite pastime: reading. Let me clarify that just a bit. It’s my all-time favorite activity after dining out with my wife and enjoying a glass of wine out on our deck. Sometimes life’s simplest pleasures are the best.
We made it a point to being able to say that we retired to our new lifestyle rather than from a job. We spend our time looking forward to doing new things. Although we’re all a product of the life we have led and looking back now and then can be enjoyable and even insightful, using what we learned has helped us to have a better idea of where we want to go.
It's one thing to be retired but’s another thing to be so active that you can’t believe where the days go. There should always be something to look forward to like another trip to plan, a new recipe to try or a new subject you want to learn more about. Life is what you make it and if you’re using the television for your biggest source of entertainment, I suggest that you make this the day to change course. Change your mind and you change your world. It’s time to Enjoy Retired Life!