Freedom versus Commitment

I really enjoyed reading the in-depth survey recently published by Age Wave/Merrill Lynch where they talk about the 4 phases of retirement.   Having just passed my 2-year into retirement mark, I have definitely lived the “2-year retirement transition” phase they called Liberation and Self-Discovery.   I do believe I am entering the next (quite long) phase of Greater Freedom and New Choices.

The issue I’m feeling right now, however, is the tension between enjoying the freedom and feeling the constraint of making regular commitments.  So much tension that I am in fact avoiding new commitments because I love the feeling of freedom.

What am I not committing to right now?

  • I am being pursued, in a nice way, by one of our local non-profits who mentor small businesses.   But it requires a series of training and then commitment of specific amount of time per month.
  • I have become a certified retirement coach, even created a business plan, but am hesitant to push out for clients.
  • I know I want to be more physically active (it’s a big part of my vision), but I don’t commit to another Zumba class, a yoga class, or even walking my dog everyday!
  • I am not committing to a number of other activities that fit my life vision: actively working on my book by finding an editor, learning to make jewelry (yet I continue to buy materials), listening to the courses I bought (both topics I am very interested in), scheduling swimming lessons (summer is over), actively putting my cooking lessons to use, scheduling a series of seminars with OLLI, and planning our next big travel adventure. All these items remain on my to-do list week after week.


Why am I not committing to so many things that obviously fit into my life vision?

  • Is it a basic fear of returning to my workaholic tendencies? I promised myself and my husband that I would not return to those habits, and once I make a promise, I try very, very hard to abide by it – that is part of my values.
  • Do I have a fear of failure? I know I have a tension between the joy of planning and frustration of doing!   Too often the anticipation of the activity creates positive feelings, but also raises too high expectations.  I worry about it (any activity) not going well.
  • Is it lack of activation energy?  Are some of these just so big of commitments I just need to break them down into more manageable steps?
  • Do I just have too many activities and not being choice-ful enough?  There is a great concept of analysis paralysis that says if you have too many choices, you do nothing.


This might feel a bit like I am beating myself up.   I AM doing a lot of things on my new life vision plan. It’s just that I feel a bit lacking in not committing to more.  Oh dear, does that sound like a workaholic tendency?!

How are you managing the constraint of regular commitments versus keeping a feeling of freedom in retirement?


Picture Credit: Pixabay

8 thoughts on “Freedom versus Commitment

  1. “… learning to make jewelry (yet I continue to buy materials)…” Ha! That’s me all over! I find that it’s so much easier to buy the ingredients/tools/materials than actually do the project. Not sure if I’m waiting for elves to complete the project for me overnight but, so far, no elves and there everything sits. Try to be more gentle to yourself. There will be no year-end review.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL. I am so glad it’s not just me who does this. I love the “waiting for the elves”! And no year end review. But if I commit to you I will make something by the end of the year, will you hold me to it?


  2. Hi, Pat – I can relate to this tension. For me, I currently have a full-on calendar, but it mostly contains events that I only have to commit to one at a time. For regular exercise, I go to drop-in fitness classes and drop-in yoga. I realize that this does not answer all of the concerns that you have listed, but it currently works for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do drop in yoga when we are in Florida and love it. I cannot figure out why I cannot bring myself to do it back in Cincinnati…. where I have a yoga studio three blocks from my house that has age 50+ classes Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Sometimes I don’t even understand myself at all! I’m going to keep working on this.


  3. Have you read “Getting Things Done” by David Allen yet? GTD (as it is known by followers) addresses several of your concerns. Yes, projects MUST be broken down into small, bite-size pieces which consist of the next, immediate physical step required to advance the project. Otherwise, you can feel overwhelmed. And yes, you CAN commit to too many projects. No matter how good you are and how efficient you are, there are only 24 hours in a day and you do have to eat, sleep and exercise. The problem with too many active projects? Pressure. Pressure to get them all done. My solution? Don’t have as many active projects. Rather, move a bunch of them to your someday/maybe lists and sequence your active projects in order of their importance to you. Also, review your someday/maybe lists often to weed out things that no longer resonate with you.

    I have all of my stuff set up in an app called Toodledo that works very well with GTD. It helps me keep everything out of my head and in a trusted system where I can review it any time I want.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have put a few things into the someday/maybe list. Maybe I just need to move more things there. And get really clear on which few things to focus on now. One of my challenges is I want to try so many things! So much to try, so little time!


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