Other phases start or end more gradually. Those might be along the lines of lifestyle changes. Over time, you might transition from spending time with college friends to professional colleagues. After becoming a parent, your circle of friends and choice of activities might change to more kid-friendly events.
Retirement is one of those lifestyle changes that is both gradual and sudden. The moment of your farewell party, or packing a box of belongings on your last day of work might signal the sudden moment of retirement. The first few weeks might be an adjustment of schedule as you work to create a new routine. For some, there's a flurry of activity - finally able to do all those projects and finish the to-do list. Others find the time on their hands weighs heavy and they start to feel fear. What to do with all that free time looms large.
I recently read a Facebook post that can be applied to this idea:
What I had to say to you, moreover, would not take long, to wit: Practice any art,
Seriously! I mean starting right now, do art, and do it for the rest of your lives.
Retirement is not the loss of your identity or the demise of your usefulness. It is not the end of your purpose, it's simply the beginning of the next phase. As a child, it was about Growing Up and becoming an adult. Now that your income-focused days are behind you, think of this stage as Growing On. Mr Vonnegut said it well and I'd like to take it one step further - every day, focus on the practice of living life. Not a routine to earn money or care for children - those days are likely behind you in retirement. Now is the time to find new purpose and activity. You may choose to work, for a number of reasons, or volunteer, learn, travel, relax, or play.
The advice to a high school senior can apply just as well to a chronological senior - Practice any art...no matter how well or badly..to experience becoming [and] find out what's inside you. Welcome today and the new experiences it can bring you. Life is no longer about growing up and becoming an adult, your focus is now about growing on to learn more and do more in life. It may be small things that you've always wanted to do, like learn to bake or plant a garden, or big dreams like travel Europe or finish your college degree. If you're not sure, that can be even more exciting - you can try a little bit of everything. Why can't life be like an endless buffet? Try a little of this, a little of that, and be sure to include a few things you're nearly certain you won't like. Why? Life's all about experiences and getting outside your comfort zone can have surprising results.
So, take on the day. Go out and have fun!
Need some inspiration or ideas?
On With the Butter! Spread More Living onto Everyday Life
Hekla Publishing LLC
Release Date: 08/14/2020