Gather up the essentials – your significant other, a crisp glass of chardonnay or a strong cup of coffee, and your imagination – to create your ideal retirement life. This is a wonderful conversation, so prepare to linger over it. The sky is the limit. Don’t be discouraged by incidental problems like a lack of money. Dream big! You can almost always find a way. We’ll talk about that later. The important thing is to figure out exactly what it is you want your ideal retirement life to be.
We’ve had many of these conversations over the years. We usually start by each making a list of what we want to do in the next couple of years. Then we share them with each other and consider how we can make the lists come alive. It was one of those conversations that got us to Florida 15 years before we retired. We knew we wanted to be somewhere warm when we stopped working.
During these 15 years, we also experimented with different kinds of housing. We tried renting rather than owning – decided it wasn’t for us. Built a bigger house – too expensive and too much trouble. Explored condo living – no garage which meant we had a boat motor in our second bedroom closet. We finally settled on a manufactured home in a 55 and over community – perfect, and we have a yard and a garage! It’s a good thing we like change.
So the “where” and “what-kind-of-house” has been decided for the present, but the ideal retirement life is an ongoing creation.
Here are some things on our last list.
- Step up our fitness routines because it’s impossible to live the ideal retirement life if we’re not healthy.
- Spend more time with our adult children and grandchildren – who all live far from us.
- See more of my husband’s family.
- Spend the winter in Europe.
- Improve our tennis games.
- Write a book about retirement.
And here’s what came of the list.
- We joined a gym through our Silver Sneakers Plan. Three times a week works – with lunch afterwards on one of the days.
- We now spend Christmas with our children in Pennsylvania each year. This summer we’ll take our grandson to a baseball tournament in Atlanta, and we’ve rented a beach house for a week for the whole family – even the ones from Europe. There’s nothing more important than family.
- Last summer we met my husband’s family in Maine for a big family reunion. It was worth every second of the three-day drive. Plus, we picked up our granddaughter in Pennsylvania and took her to see her cousins from California, New York, and Maine.
- Since we live in a community where we can easily rent out our house during the season, we’ve rented it for next winter, so that we can spend those months in Spain. We’ll be able to see our European son and our two Dutch grandchildren while having a travel adventure.
- We keep taking tennis lessons and playing on tennis teams. My husband improves, and I stay the same. But it’s all good.
- My friend Dixie and I started this blog, and this is chapter 12 of the book!
Here are some great resources to get you thinking about your list. Check them out.
Here’s to your ideal retirement life!