Recently, I’ve had some interesting conversations with people about retirement.
Some have a crystal-clear vision of how they want their days to flow. They see themselves moving seamlessly between creative work, nature, those bits of their career that they loved and can now repurpose into something new. There is time for play.
Then there are those who are worried they’ll spend their days in a TV induced stupor or frantically cooking and cleaning all day.
Both of these visions carry a mindset of staying busy and productive. However, they are two totally different approaches.
The first approach allows for new possibilities, spacious days, fun and meaningful interest.
The second can’t see beyond what has always been – busy days of work and busier weekends filled with tasks and errands. The black and white of either go-go-go or crash.
If you’re like I was and tend toward the latter approach, let me assure you there is hope. But it can be a tough mindset to shift. Whether this need for busy productivity was learned during our formative years or acquired over a long and busy career, it can become a habitual response to any open, yawning expanse of time. Especially as you transition to what is traditionally called retirement or, as I prefer to think of it, your Third Age.
However, what I’ve learned is that it doesn’t have to be that way.
Approach is a choice
We humans are amazingly adaptable. We don’t break when we try to mold ourselves into a new mindset.
You get to choose to have a full, meaningful, joyful life without filling every minute of every day. You get to choose your approach as well as how you feel about. What will my days look like? What would be fun? You get to fall in love with your next stage of life!
It’s not that hard. In fact, it’s wonder-full.
As for me, I have fallen in love with helping others do this.
How will you choose to love your life?
L Learn what brings you alive. Through different exercises and guided meditations, I help you recognize that bubble of excitement or delight that accompanies aliveness. Once you feel it, you can latch onto it and see where it takes you. If an idea fizzles out, think about what else produces delight. Nothing comes to mind immediately? That’s okay. Imagine what might bring you alive. Nothing is off limits. Nothing you come up with is set in stone. Permanence is an illusion. You don’t want to get stuck there. It took me a while but I finally learned what lights me up. I also learned how to give myself permission to follow it. (That permission stuff can be a tough one, too!)
O Open yourself up to possibilities. This is where your imagination – and fun – comes in. Just because you never did something doesn’t mean you never can. Whether it’s skydiving or training for a 5k, picking up that old camera, rescuing a puppy or learning how to code, I encourage you to develop a habit of thought that says, why not? We brainstorm and explore. This is creativity in action. You can create something that wasn’t there before. A life, a world, a way of thinking. I see people do this all the time.
V Volunteer in your own life. Yes, of course, there’s a need for altruism in the big world. But what do you do for others that you don’t do for yourself? Perhaps you think it’s selfish to claim your own time. You’ve been taught that others come before you and therefore find yourself at their beck and call. You are the first one to step up when someone needs an oxygen mask … even though you know you need to put yours on first. Self-sacrifice comes easily. But it’s not always necessary and not always healthy. Often you don’t even recognize this in yourself until we start talking. You will find that when you volunteer to take bigger care of your own life, you have more to offer when the time comes to volunteer elsewhere.
E Experience your life fully. Feel it. Don’t tear through it in the fast lane. Appreciate it. Allow yourself to daydream. Notice where your thoughts go. While necessity may be the mother of invention, I believe curiosity comes first. When you stop to pay attention to life you are Pausing. In this Pause lives the quiet space in which you at your essence comes to the forefront. You. The beautiful, interesting, quirky, smart, and unique You.
Love that You!
Your first step
If you’re ready to do more than wonder or worry about how your Third Age will look and would like to dive into this process with me, then I’d love to talk to you.
Contact me and let’s start a conversation about where you are, where you’re going and how I can help you can fall in love with this next stage of life.