Building a life in retirement required me to think about things beside work. In my book Retirement Transition – An Innovative Approach (link here to Amazon purchase), I created a holistic Life Domains Framework with seven life design areas. Building from a center of self-knowledge, I used this framework to help craft my Retirement Lifestyle Vision and create plans to achieve that vision.
Since this past month was my retirement anniversary, I felt it was a good time to review all the areas to see how things are going. This blog post shares some of the questions I explored again in each area of the Life Domains Framework:
- Relationships/ Connections
- Health/ Wellbeing
- Personal Development/Generativity
For most people, a job/career provided more that just financial compensation. The question of working or not can be revisited throughout retirement to meet a breadth of things you personally might still need. The question recently became, “what benefits that work delivered do I need in my life and am I (still) trying to replace those? Is finding a part-time job the best way to fulfill those needs?”
- Did work help provide a Sense of Identity? Did I (still) introduce myself by saying what work I did? Did I (still) need something to build my ego, provide recognition, or provide status?
- Did work help provide Social Affiliation & Friendship? Since most of my friends were through work or work related activities, do I still need to find additional new connections as work ones are gone?
- Did work help provide Structure & Routine? Since I do work best with structure, do I need to work on more daily planning and goal setting?
- Did work help provide Challenge, Accomplishment, a Sense of Utility? Have I replaced my mentally stimulating work situations/conversations and the feeling of being “needed”?
- Do I need to provide supplemental income (to make ends meet or for lifestyle desired) or medical benefits at this point of retirement or looking forward?
While I never talk finances when I address retirement transition (I am nowhere near an expert in this area!), there are some basic questions to confirm.
- Do I/we have a strong awareness of our financial plans and money matters? Do I/we have monthly budget/cash flow understanding and clarity on retirement drawdown strategy including Social Security & Medicare?
- Do I/we have enough to satisfy our material/lifestyle needs or do I/we need supplemental retirement income or to shift our spending habits?
- Do we have updated wills/estate plans/POAs (especially as we are moving states!)? Is all the financial information easy to find/known by both spouses? Are the papers up to date, organized, and easy to find?
Leisure time in retirement can be anything you want it to be! This area is unique to each individual. I am finding this pandemic time is causing me to reconsider some of my own leisure elements.
- What new fun stuff do I/we want to do? What’s on my life possibilities list that I can explore now?
- Am I reaching out to friends and family for fun activities? Am I regularly engaging in play? Am I appreciating my time for solitary relaxation?
- Have I considered: more learning (on line classes), future travel planning (bucket list destinations), creative expression outlets, different physical pursuits, different ways of social interaction, and different ways for spectator appreciation?
- Do I have a plan to identify a place/organization/activity/cause that matches my values/strengths/interests as we move locations?
I’ve often said that I lost 80% of my regular connections when I stopped working. An Intentional Connections Plan early on helped me fill a lot of that void. The pandemic and our planned future move are both impacting this domain area.
- Do I have strong supportive and positive relationships? What connections do I need to maintain, improve, build, eliminate, or replace? Do I have intentional plans in place to address those needs?
- Am I making time for my relationship with myself? (Self-love)
- Am I making time for my relationship with my spouse/partner? Have we talked the he/she/we plans lately? Are there things I can do to strengthen this important relationship?
- Is any relationship taking too much time and energy, creating stress? Are there things I can do to improve/modify this relationship? Can I reach out for support here, if needed?
This domain includes thinking about physical, emotional/ mental, and spiritual wellbeing. This domain is strongly interdependent with some of the other domains, but I think it’s helpful to relook at these areas and consider if new activity plans are needed for improved relaxation (meditation, prayer, spirituality exploration, sleep), nutrition (eating healthy, cooking healthy), or activity (physically fit, exercise programs, movement).
- Do I have the right activities for my physical health? Do I have activities/habits that address daily movement, flexibility, and strength? Am I eating for nutrition and hydrating appropriately? Do I have habits that promote relaxation and good sleep hygiene?
- Do I have the right activities for my emotional/mental health? Do I have activities/habits that address mental stimulation, stress management, and social connectivity?
- Do I have the right activities for my spiritual health? Do I have activities/habits that address purpose, positivity, community connection, and spirituality /religious beliefs? Am I engaged in reflection and practicing mindfulness?
- Do I/we have all the regular check-ups and appropriate diagnostic screenings/tests/shots planned? Do we have a plan to set up a new medical support structure as we move?
Downsize/ resize/ relocate can all be significant aspects in retirement and is often the biggest area of consideration after the to–work-or-not-to-work question! Choice of location and community can have so many other implications – closeness to others, access to work opportunities, support of health and wellness. We are planning a significant location shift this next year, so it’s a good time to rethink this domain.
- Do I have a good articulation (vision board?) of the lifestyle I/we want to live moving forward? Do I have a plan for building personal connections and engagement in new activities?
- Do I/we have plans in place for the actual move?
This domain has always been the most difficult one for me as it is connected to purpose, legacy, and volunteering. Here are the questions I’m focusing on at the moment:
- Am I spending my time and energy on activities that align to my core values?
- What am I doing to improve myself at this point of my life? What am I doing to lean into believing “I am enough” and to dismiss the “compare and despair”? What else can I do to release self-limiting beliefs?
- What am I doing in regards to legacy? How am I thinking about volunteering activities as we relocate?
Milestones, like an anniversary, are good moments to step back and reflect on where you’ve been and where you are going. This reflection time highlighted a few things I personally need to work on, especially in this next year as we relocate.
Have you used any similar/different framework for your retirement life design? Is there an area of questions I’ve missed?
Picture Credit: our summer garden