I have had a lot to learn about daily living as part of retirement transition. I was a workaholic; my work defined my daily and weekly living. Work/life balance was solidly on the work side of things. When the work went away, I needed to figure out how to live life. I’m still a beginner but here’s what I’ve learned so far:
- Every day life is ordinary. While I don’t have the stricture of working – the living by the clock, the frustration of a daily commute, and the banality of meetings – retirement days are not a nirvana of extraordinary adventures. If I expect that, I’ll be disappointed. I am learning to enjoy the ordinary.
- I need to plan my everyday. Yes, I have discovered I really do need to have a plan. A new life in retirement does not magically appear; time does not fill itself with engaging activities. I need to intentionally schedule things – from meet-ups with friends to time to write. Otherwise the days fritter away and negative feelings spiral.
- Consciously using the new tools in my toolbox makes the everyday days feel a bit closer to nirvana with a more peaceful, positive rhythm. Using my new tools (morning journaling, affirmations, practice gratitude, practice yoga) takes effort, (dare I say ”work”?) but they do make living every day more enjoyable.
- When looking to how others are living life (friends, bloggers, random people you meet), focus on inspiration and not comparison. The comparison is so much easier, but too often lends to a sense of inferiority. Everyone is different, with different strengths, different interests and desires. I need to define my own daily living.
- It’s the journey, not the destination. A quote this Type-A recovering-workaholic, goal-setting achiever continues to remind herself daily! Embracing the journey means doing things I enjoy every day, giving new activities my best shot, and being OK with being a beginner. And focusing on activities that really interest me, not ones I think I “should be” doing.
- There is a huge gap between purpose in every moment of every day and completely wasted time. Some people find that singular passion that becomes their life purpose. Stop the comparison… many people do not. Having the freedom to craft every week with a multitude of enjoyable activities, including time to just stop and be, is fine. Someday a larger purpose might present itself, but enjoying living is OK for right now.
- The options are limitless and the choices can be overwhelming. Just do something. Take a class. Read up on a topic. I have the freedom now to explore… so I am exploring! I can become a 21st Century Renaissance Woman – a blogging, spiritualism-exploring, yogi; a theater-going foodie who takes exotic mini-adventures; and an innovation-gig consultant. Why not!
For me, retirement transition has been about learning how to live, not work. Yes, I am a beginner at it, but am finding joy in the learning.