A number of times, I’ve had friends who are not yet retired wonder what they will do with their days when they are not working. They really cannot imagine a future without work. For many of them this is filling 55-60 hours/week or more (yes, they are workaholics like I was)…. that is over 3300 minutes every week. That’s a big void to fill and a lot more than a round of golf, a game of tennis, or cooking healthier dinners.
This blog post captures things I added to my life since retiring and a little bit on things I tried that didn’t work out (exploration and experimentation is good). It’s a good time for me to review this because I am feeling a void in my life again and this review will be helpful to energize me in filling that void! Quite a few of the things I’ve added in creating my retirement lifestyle, things I love to do, are now not possible with Covid-19 social distancing. There has been a loss of rituals and rhythms. And I’ve also noticed a resurgence in my “Someday Syndrome” – the “I’ll do it someday” thinking. Once again, like when I retired, I need to figure out what’s next for my life.
For me, when I retired I needed to replace work conversations, I needed to boost (OK, start a program for) my physical health, I needed to figure out where to get a sense of achievement, and I definitely needed structure. I had to learn also what were my real desires versus the societal expectations (still a work in progress) and I needed to learn to slow down and just be.
This new void is not the 55+ hours void, but a big enough one that I need to encourage myself to explore new things. I need to find focus, stop mindless social media scrolling, and cease endless YouTube watching. And it’s helpful to remember that I tried quite a few things that didn’t work out – I really need to have that try-it mindset again.
- Things I added to my life (that stuck!)
- Daily movement – Yoga, Zumba, Walk & Talks with friends, biking in Florida
- Activities devoted to my Love of Words – journaling, blogging, crossword puzzles, scrabble game play, creative writing classes, book publication, reading
- Activities linked to my interest in the Arts: Playhouse philanthropy with Leading Ladies; additional live theater subscription (10+ shows a year – half were date nights with dinner); art classes; regularly going to craft shows, art walks and art galleries
- Activities that build on my Epicurean Interests: created a Dining Out Foodie Club, explored meal delivery services, took cooking boot camp plus a string of other cooking classes, regular food boutique shopping
- New Things Tracking to encourage me to “say yes” to opportunities, as well as explore different classes, new restaurants, and fun things to do (lots of new experiences).
- Things I tried that didn’t work out long term:
- Consulting project work
- Life Coaching
- Antique Dealer
- Tennis (took lessons)
- Scooter-ing (I did get the motorcycle license)
- Grant writing (took courses)
So, what is next, given the limitations of social distancing? Take a deep breath and set some plans in place: I will explore some new things from my Possibilities List). I will take a hard look at the “someday I will” things and plan out initial steps. I will replace date nights, plan some (safe) day trips, and decide what to learn about (on-line) next.
Do you feel like there is a void in your life with Covid-19 social distancing requirements?