Possibilities Lists – A Retirement Transition Tool

This past summer I reconsidered my Seasonal To-Do List as a Possibilities List and found that mindset shift very up-lifting.  (See Link to Berate or Celebrate blog here.) I recalled early in my retirement transition, as part of the Retirement Transition Process, I created a very long Possibilities List. (First post about that idea here: Sept 23 2015, and then a relook for inspiration here: Oct 18, 2017) Thinking about possibilities at this point in my retirement, I was inspired to go back and look at that original list!

My Life Possibilities List was intended to be a source of inspiration – to help bring clarity to what I wanted in my life (my Life Plan), to create daily/weekly/monthly action plans, and/or to look to when I need a little push out of boredom, which I worried about in my early retirement days. I originally targeted to have 150 items on the list, but ended up with 300 items on the list!

My intent in a relook now is to first see how many things I did do (reminisce and celebrate!) and, more importantly, are there items I really still feel an urge to do. What is on that old Possibilities List that will bring me joy now, in this stage of my retirement? What thing(s) would I really regret not checking off?  

I noted that over time I did cross off the list ideas that were really not in line with my interests.  Retirement gave me time to do in-depth personal reflection and get to know myself more.  And that allowed me to decide some things I put on the Possibilities List really did not fit the authentic me, nor the lifestyle I wanted to live.

I was excited to see how many items I did implement. I was unnerved to see many things that will not happen as they simply reflected a different point of my life (continuing to mentor, Ohio day trips). And I was inspired to add some things to my new seasonal possibilities lists.

My Fall Possibilities List is almost ready to go. Fall weather here is perfect time to be out & about and folks who were “gone for the heat” will be back.  I have lots of Fun Tribe event planning to do!  Between the “normal” stuff (classes, clubs, friend connects, crafts) and my Fall Possibilities, I’m looking forward to the next few months.  Once again my seasonal list contains a few more “challenging” ideas:

  • Garage clean out and organize.  We’ve been in the house now over a year and this was on the original move-in to-do list. It requires hubby cooperation!
  • Tourist in Own Town.  There are so many things I still want to explore: State Park hikes, the Florida Aquarium, the Cross Bay Ferry, museums, tubing.  Too many ideas for one season?
  • E-bay selling. I’ve boxes of things that I am hoping to (finally) sell; eBay will require a learning curve.  This activity has been on the to-do list for a couple of years!

What’s a challenging or fun item on your seasonal list, if you plan one?

Picture: My latest glass flower creation!

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13 thoughts on “Possibilities Lists – A Retirement Transition Tool

  1. I am usine the App AnyList. I have categories for condo, finances etc. When something pops up that is Not on my list it give me a rationale to decline an opportunity to spend more money or do something that I don’t really want to do.

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    1. There’s an app for everything, isn’t there! If I had to do categories, mine would be in my life vision spaces (mind, body, heart, spirit), but I like yours as well. One thing I did notice with my first possibilities list (years ago) is that it opened my eyes to new opportunities – I wanted to try new things, so when the opportunity to try a zip-line came up, I took it, even thought at the time it wasn’t on my possibilities list. (And I’m pretty sure I’d not do it again!)

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  2. I love the switch from a “to-do” list to “possibilities.” It feels more enticing. Inspired by you, I started a fall possibilities list. As of now, there is nothing too challenging on it, but several things I consider fun, like go on a fall leaves photography drive/hike, try a new fall cocktail, and visit Zions National Park.

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    1. Christie, I don’t think anything on there needs to be too challenging, unless you want something to be! Personally I like to have my seasonal lists be combination of seasonal things I love (yes, apple fritters on my fall list. no, nothing with pumpkin spice!), normal things to just keep doing (habit formation, self care), and new things. I envy you the fall leaves – last fall I missed not seeing the fall colors… fall here is just different.

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  3. I make a lot of lists. I have a short “do today” list and then a longer term “to do” list. I also have a list similar to your possibilities list. Recently I’ve been looking into doing a pottery class and attending a roller derby match. Both are new things to me and I want to give them a try.

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    1. Ooh, roller derby! I have no idea if there is that opportunity here, but yeah, I need to look into it – great idea. I took a pottery class and have a few lovely small snack bowls that I made and use. It didn’t catch my interest although I know someone who took a class when she first retired and is now fully into it! So many things to try!

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  4. Considering my husband retires at the end of this month your idea of a Possibilities List is resonating with me. I’ve never had a bucket list, but will admit to keeping a measuring cup list for things I’d like to do… if I happen to be nearby.

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    1. I found a similar idea in a retirement book I found and since I’m a list maker, it worked for me. I liked that it was possibilities versus a bucket list. I felt I could add on things that made me go “Hmmm” without thinking “commitment”, which a bucket list felt more like. And it opened my eyes to seeing opportunities too….for when they happened to be nearby! 🙂

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  5. I love your lists!!!! I think I may try my hand at a fall list!!!! Maybe I will try being the planner for a few things as that is often the part that stops me from doing things, “I don’t have anyone to do them with”. But during this past year several of my friends retired and I may have more of a “fun tribe”. Asking people to do things may need to become my goal. As silly as it sounds part of the reason I don’t ask people is due to lack of self-esteem. Most people think I am full of it but so much of it is an “act”. I act like I’m confident but in reality I’m always concerned people are judging me and don’t really like me. Anyway, I’m not making this about my lack of self-esteem, I’m going to make this about planning some fun fall things and actually being the one that asks others to go with me!
    On my list are:
    1. I want to make another throw with those hand knitting classes. I’ve made one and I love it and I think a class would be a great way to make another one.
    2. I have seen this class pop up on my FaceBook that is called something like Script and Sip where you learn calligraphy and drink wine at the same time. I would love to write in calligraphy and wine goes with anything!
    3. I want to steal the Tourist in my our Town idea. I want to go to the sign museum, take a city tour on those (dang it, I can’t think of the word) stand up scooters things, do the underground tour and I’m sure there are many other things. Pat, I know you are already thinking of at least a dozen things in our city!
    4. I would like to take Flower Arranging classes and the wreath making class (like you and I took)

    These came up with me even looking into what’s going on in our city. And I’ve already started my list! Now all I have to do is be the planner!!!! Oh my, that will be the amazing part!

    I also want to have some parties. The inside of my house is pretty well finished and ready for company so I would like to have some simple (that’s the key) get togethers with my neighbors so we can get to know them better (and let them see the house, I know they are wondering what it looks like since I’ve had people working in and on it for over a year now) and my friends, it feels like a long time since I’ve seen most of them. Fall would be a great time as we can utilize the patio for some of the party!

    You inspire me! I must admit I wish you were here to ask me to do all theses things but I’m going to get out of my comfort zone and ask!

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    1. Candyse, yes, having others who are retired does make a difference as they will (hopefully) have more discretionary time. And just FYI – if anyone is judging you, they’re probably coming up short themselves!! Seriously – smart, independent gorgeous, in shape, fab dresser, fun to be with… I could “hate you” easily.

      I wish we had made those throws together, but now, I’d never really use it! Do the calligraphy class…. we had the one scheduled that you ended up not being able to go so Tim went with me. It was fun – it not with sipping though! I didn’t keep at it, but you might. We did a Segway tour of Eden Park a number of years ago that was super fun. And yeah, the underground tour was interesting too. Check out Groupon for Cincinnati!! Start your planning. channel you in my commitment to exercise classes… you can channel me in planning. Plan 2 things a month – you can do it.

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  6. Hi Pat – I like how you renegotiate your lists regularly and don’t lock yourself into things that you’ve grown past. It saves you from unnecessary disappointment and wasted energy. I don’t have any lists – other than to get this darn hip operated on as soon as humanly (hospitally) possible so I can get moving again. Until then, my goal is to be patient and to manage my life and my shortcomings with grace and patience. 🙂

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    1. Leanne, I know lists are not for everyone…but I’ve found they help me to be more patient with myself and give me a sense of being grounded, which is important for my feeling of contentment. I did read today that anticipation can make time feel like it’s going slower….I’m hoping that is not the case with you!

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