Not yet retired, I am caught up in the working world’s typical frenzy of endeavoring to stay ahead while putting aside some money for the future. After years living at this busy pace, I wonder what it will take for me to slow down to a more reasonable pace when I retire. I realize that if I do not plan a bit and prepare for a less frantic existence, not only do I risk finding myself without enough to keep me busy, but also potentially breezing through a rewarding retirement life that I have finally achieved. Here are some ways I plan to slow down once I retire.
1. Focus. Once retired, I will have time to focus on what really interests me and begin pursuing my passions. There will be no clock to punch, so I can start my day according to my personal preference. What I do with my time is up to me. But if I have no inkling of what I really want to be doing in retirement I may end up accomplishing nothing of consequence. Although my hours need not all be productive, I do not want to waste them either.
2. No deadlines. Few of my projects or hobbies have hard deadlines for completion. In fact, it is more likely that the journey taken doing what I enjoy will be the most satisfying aspect, not the final accomplishment. Rather than drive myself to get it done, I will need to learn to proceed at a more relaxed pace and have fun along the way. After years of meetings and agendas and quotas, it may not be so easy to stop incessantly monitoring my watch as I hurry to get it all done before days end. But in retirement I need to realize that perhaps having a deadline can be worse than missing a deadline.
3. Tenure for life. No one can fire me from my retirement. With this position, I have tenure for life. I will need to learn to let my inclination to excel and drive to be the best fade away just like the hair on my head. But as this security is something I never experienced in the working world, I plan to enjoy it.
4. Prioritize. Although I no longer fear being over booked on my calendar, there are some activities that I prefer to do and some chores that are more important than others. As a retiree, it will be important to prioritize so my to-do list does not become overwhelming rather than something I continue to whittle away at.
I look forward to having more time to pursue my own interests in retirement. I have lots of ideas as to what I will do to keep busy and enjoy myself. But I realize that part of a happy retirement will depend on my ability to slow down and to live at a reasonable, steady pace.
Dave Bernard is not yet retired, but has begun his due diligence to plan for a satisfying retirement. With a focus on the non-financial aspects of retiring, he shares his discoveries and insights on his blog Retirement–Only the Beginning.