How do you discover your authentic self by looking in the mirror? This might seem like a strange question that has little to do with life in retirement, but the answer is revealing because the look we pursue says something about us. It says, “This is the face I’m showing to the world. This is what I want to be.”
For some, it’s professional dye jobs and plastic surgery. For others, it’s the decision to stop all that stuff. I know of one coworker who said if she ever had a car accident just remember that L’Oreal # 56 was her hair color. Another friend said, “I just ignore my wrinkly neck and wear low-necked shirts.
Retirement is a departure from the purpose of work and also the routine of work. You already know the compensation ends. The routine that surrounds and supports your work also ends.
Find your new purpose?
When the purpose ends so does the routine that surrounds and supports your work. You know the routine that I’m talking about:
Preparing clothing for work
Planning ahead for fixing dinner. Need to stop at the store on the way home?
Buying your lunch? Fix a lunch.
If there’s family, getting them up and off to their destinations.
Gas in the car?
Setting the alarm for 1-2 hours before starting the commute.
The commute. Is it an hour each way? Less? More? Allow for traffic, weather.
To do List to clear up what wasn’t finished yesterday. Start on new projects.
Family activities after work?
Stop at the dry cleaners.
After retirement, that routine changes drastically. The drain on your time changes from all the tasks listed above to “What am I going to do today?” Sure you still need to keep up with the laundry, the meals planned and the family attended to, though they probably have their own homes by now. You have all day to deal with these items and if not today, then tomorrow works too.
Find Your New Purpose
Now is the time to shift your passions and probe your curiosity to identify your new purpose in retirement.
Purpose evolves as you pass through the many phases of your life. This may stem from passions from the past or desires at one time or another that you didn’t have time to pursue. In retirement your constraints are lessened because you may be downsizing your home, the kids are through college, the car is paid for, the weddings are over and you are into the next phase.
Now, the “job well done” may only come from inside you after retirement, but the truth of the statement still resonates. And it may resonate on a much more personal level that will have residuals that far out-distance a title and a salary.
Okay, so you have this precious new gift. 40-60 hours a week that you haven’t had for the past several years. How will you fulfill your life?… not your work life, your retired life? How will you use these 60- minute gifts?
Take a couple of “vacation weeks” and decide. If you want to sleep for two weeks, do it. If you want to lay on the beach with your toes in the sand, do it. These hours are YOURS!
After decompression from a workweek filled up by others, decide how to arrange this next very important phase of your life? Your expanded life. Your freed-up life!
In my last post about healthy aging, we explored some basic ways to protect the brain. I promised in that post to provide some additional fun and effective ideas to improve memory for now and in the future. Here’s a list that can easily be incorporated into daily life. Choose one or two or go for all of them.
How to Improve Your Memory
Challenge your brain. You can read or do crosswords or watch football or play cards or brain games. Any or all of these are good. Make it even more effective by doing something new. If you’ve done crosswords forever, try learning to play video games. They’re not just for kids. Lots of research shows that the brain loves learning something novel.