I came upon this article early in my research on the issue of how to best use your time in retirement and it provides a lot of food for thought as you prepare your plan, particularly your Brainstorm. But I particularly like this quote from the article, “As people lead longer and healthier lives, a person retiring from full-time work at the age of 65 today will likely live another 20 to 30 years.” If I assume the mid-point of 25 years, that’s almost 40% of the years you have lived! This is outstanding if you plan and know what you want to do. But if you don’t, can you imagine living from age 25 to 50, for example, without any goals, desires or aspirations? As my granddaughter says, “Seriously!”

This is an excellent article in that it does point out many things you should consider in planning your time in retirement, but I am not a fan of the foreboding, mortality comments. You’re 65, have all these years in front of you and I believe it’s much more productive to approach these years from a constructive, positive, creative perspective.  Some people surely will consider that the hour glass eventually runs out. But the people who say “Let’s go” are the ones who will enjoy retirement more than they ever expected since they are in charge of their lives and pushing themselves to achieve their dreams and aspirations. Sitting around the coffee shop staring into space with your same old coffee is one alternative, while experimenting with a new coffee, or a new barista mix, is another. You may not like it, but you’ve tried it, and are no worse the wear. There are always challenges in the new or outside the comfort zone. My son and I took a trip to Ireland last year and one of the places he wanted to visit was Belfast. My reaction – why? Not high on the want to see list and I would rather spend the time in a nice Irish pub in Ireland. But to Belfast we went. A fantastic learning experience since it was completely different from what I expected. Yes, an edge to the town, but after a tour with a guide who took us to all of the bombing sites and explained the whys of the issues, I understood more than I could ever have imagined. It became a highlight of our trip. But the way I got there was by saying “why not” and not opting for the comfortable.

For my part, it’s much more important in retirement to challenge yourself like you have never done before. Get the life blood flowing in new and possibly, uncomfortable ways.

When you are creating your Brainstorm using the “For Me”, “For Those Close to Me”, “Improve Upon”, and “For Others” questions, broaden your scope and challenge yourself. For example, in “Improve Upon”, if you know you have a fault, but have always said “what does it really matter?”, now is the time to confront it and change it. Just by listing it as a goal will force you to consciously confront it every day and every time you do it. One of my faults is lack of patience with slow drivers. Drives me crazy (no pun intended). But how many times have I put myself or others in jeopardy because of my impatience? I really do need to control this before something stupid happens and I am at fault.

There are other, numerous examples, but challenge yourself and confront yourself to achieve like you never dreamed. You have the time and the last thing you want to do is to over contemplate your navel. Everyone is different and everyone has different aspirations, but planning for them has always been essential in your life. It is the same in retirement and should be approached with the same vigor.

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