Time Is On My Side In Retirement
Author: Lisa Stornaileo
Have you ever noticed that at different times of our lives, time seems to pass at different rates of speed? Time can be elusive, and it's something we are constantly trying to manage, manipulate, or master. When you leave the workforce, time takes on a whole new dimension. A switch of sorts goes off from not having enough and managing your time wisely to having the freedom and flexibility to do whatever you want, pretty much whenever you want it.
Time Is On My Side
If you are of a certain age, the title of this article could trigger a song. Can't you hear Mick Jagger echoing, "yes, it is," in his iconic British accent? Recently I have been thinking a lot about time. Perhaps it is because I had a milestone birthday this year, or the fact that I am now officially, what I like to call, semi-retired, or that I coach many people on how to transition and design a retirement that excites them. I know that time can be elusive; it's something we are constantly trying to manage, manipulate, or master.
Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is
At different times of our lives, time seems to pass at different rates of speed. We are reminded that time passes too quickly when we sit at our kids' college graduations, weddings, or meet our first grandchild. We realize that time can pass painstakingly slowly when waiting for test results or being reunited with a loved one that we haven't seen in a long time.
Being a natural-born organizer and planner, I have always tried to make the most of my time and manage it wisely. Some might call me obsessed with time. As an overachiever and planner, I will make the most of every minute, never saying no to an event or opportunity. When I went to college, I remember thinking I NEVER want to look back in regret, so I will make the most of everything, which might explain why I am the poster child for FOMO (fear of missing out).
If I Could Turn back time
When you leave the workforce, time takes on a whole new dimension. A switch of sorts goes off from not having enough and managing your time wisely to having the freedom and flexibility to do whatever you want, pretty much whenever you want it.
It is what we wish for as we work our 9-5 jobs, and once we have it, we are caught by surprise and unsure what to do with it. At first, we relish it, and we sleep late. We reunite with old friends, take up new hobbies, and book many social events. I even remember when my husband asked about my plans for the day, and I said to take a nap. He asked if I was feeling alright because I had never taken a nap in my adult life, except for recuperating from surgery or childbirth.
That was short-lived, but then I went to the other extreme. I was reuniting with old friends, joining new social groups, golfing more, joining the ladies' golf league, taking pottery classes, and even joining the local pickleball group. I found myself at odds with time. I was filling it and passing the time versus living it and spending it in meaningful and fulfilling ways. It was all focused on filling my calendar, not my spirit.
The Times They Are A-Changin
Then I realized that I am fortunate to have planned well and reap the benefits of all my hard work by having an opportunity to retire early. In the book 100 Year Life, the authors point out that more people live longer into their 80s, 90s, and even 100. If they retire at the traditional age of 65, let alone earlier, this next phase could last 15, 20, 25 years, or even longer.
I started thinking that is a LONG time and my FOMO mind kicked in. I haven't lived with regret for the past 60 years. Why would I mess that up for the next chapter? I shifted my mindset to make the most of the time in front of me. I wanted to design this next chapter beyond the traditional vision for retirement. I started reading about folks like me and the need to reboot our conventional views of retirement. I became obsessed with the topic. A colleague of mine felt similarly, and we decided to interview pre- and post-retirees to learn from those who were successfully transforming and living a fulfilled life in retirement.
Being someone with a successful background in leadership development and career transition coaching, it occurred to me that people need to have a plan to transition to this phase of their life just like they have done throughout their careers. We developed a roadmap that has four steps. We tested it out on ourselves and others and have become entrepreneurs starting The Future of You, a consultancy with a mission that is to help people find the same sense of fulfillment and purpose as they had throughout their careers while still enjoying all the perks of being retired.
I've Had the Time of My Life
None of us knows exactly how much time we have left. All I know is at this point in my life, I have fewer days ahead of me than behind me, but statistically, I have a good many left (fingers crossed I won't get hit by the proverbial bus), far too many to pass and squander my time away. I prefer to live mine to the fullest.
I now spend my time more balanced than ever. I can choose who and what I WANT to spend my time on and with. The things I put aside because I was busy climbing the corporate ladder and raising a family I now revisit. I still will never go to an early bird special. I genuinely like golf and pickleball. I am sad to say I prefer to value others' pottery talents more than my own and will stick to museums and gift shops.
I also spend half my time working with my business partner on developing The Future of You. In the process, I realized that my purpose and passion have always been to help people live to their full potential – in leadership development, career transition coaching, parenting, or now assisting people in designing a retirement that excites them.
From time to time, I still suffer from FOMO, and I still have a hard time sitting still when my calendar looks light, but I relish the opportunity to shift course when a beautiful day arrives, and I feel the need to hop on my bike or take a hike in the woods with Rocky the wonder dog.
All I know is I want to spend the rest of my days LIVING my life to my fullest, not managing my time to a calendar. Not too packed, just full enough. I want to soar as Baby did at the end of Dirty Dancing with the support of my friends and family lifting me.
Are you nearing this next stage of your life? Do you wonder how you will spend your time? Do you have a plan, or can you even imagine how to get from here to there? If you want a proven roadmap, set of tools, and stories of inspiration from those living a fulfilled life in retirement, check out The Future of You.
And remember that time is on your side. The only question is how you will spend it.
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