I am using lots of tools to help me create a new retirement lifestyle — a vision statement & affirmations, a vision board for the year, a word of the year, and quarterly action plans with measures. Yes, some might consider this overkill, but my corporate workaholic tendencies are still alive and kicking. Also, as in the Corporate world, this is my Year in Review, another project management tool!
My 2017 word of the year was Live… as in “Live Life”. This “live” focus also showed up strongly on my vision board (“live the life you love” ala Oprah) and in my affirmations (l am an active person, experiencing things, enjoying daily life).
As I looked back on it, I realized 2017 was actually about replacing the “benefits of work”. Work benefits went way beyond the compensation. Work provided me a sense of identity, was the source of 90% of my social connections, gave me a feeling of accomplishment/purpose, and provided my life with structure.
2017 was about creating an active social calendar to provide the friendship, structure, and range of fulfilling activities that I lost with leaving a full-time career. Some things worked and others did not! Retirement transition is definitely a learning curve.
- Intentionally replacing the effortless connections & support network of the workplace. Just this month I realized that the year-long effort I put into setting up dates, calling people, arranging activities together, and commenting on blogs has resulted in an abundance of friendships in my life. My new thinking in this space: Planning is my gift to those who do the things with me… for their happiness. I will no longer complain about a lack of reciprocity. Intentional investment into maintaining these friendships is an important part of my retirement lifestyle vision.
- Coping with loss of career identity meant I began doing consulting work and exploring life coaching. Continuing to work was expected of me – I was told everyone like me did it! Consulting work in my old field also provided the structure and sense of accomplishment I was used to. At mid-year I was returning to my workaholic tendencies and no leisure time – not good. This provided me a big wake-up call as to what do I want my retirement lifestyle to look like? And not just do what others expect.
- Looking to create a new daily/weekly structure I explored new and engaging ways to stay active and be adventurous — the yoga pass, Zumba regularly, walks with friends, took the trip of a lifetime (3 week African safari). Many of these activities link to my desire to be active and give me a sense of accomplishment. But there are many things that are still on the explore list a year later… I need to move to action on some of them in 2018!
- Removing things that no longer fit to allow space for the life I want to live. This was a huge element this year as we changed our primary living situation. This involved identifying the right place for my SIL to live, so she no longer depended on us as primary caretakers. And then de-clutter and downsizing us. All of these activities were both mentally and physically challenging and looking back, took up a huge portion of time this past year. A few words on paper, but days and days on end of effort.
- This was a year of self growth — learning about emotional awareness, practicing gratitude, changing beliefs, accepting myself. I’m continuing to learn how to manage the limiting, negative self—talk:
- To stop thinking the Imposter Syndrome thoughts (I’m not good enough; I don’t belong here).
- To stop thinking the Comparative Inferiority thoughts (someone else is doing it better; I’m doing it wrong).
- To silence the Inner Critic (you’re no good at stuff like that; you’re too fat, too old, too out of shape).
- To stop trying to Be the Good Girl and meet everyone else’s expectations of what they think is best (you really should volunteer/consult/ start a second career — it worked for me).
2017 might not have achieved the full “Live Life” intent, but it definitely
moved me along on the retirement journey. We are in our downsized primary living situation. I am facing my current medical condition with positivity and a great support network. I have a nice set of regularly scheduled activities. In 2018, I will have the courage to put action behind living the total retirement lifestyle I’ve envisioned.
And yes, there will be a 2018 vision statement & affirmations, vision board, and word of the year. The structure-loving planner inside me needs it!
What did your year-end review tell you?
Picture Credit: 2017 Serengeti Sunset – by me!