See that photo? It’s a confused mess. If you try to do everything at once after you retire, your life will feel like one, too. Read on…
When you first find yourself #HashTagRetired, it’s easy to romanticize about all of the time you finally have to do all of the things you’ve been waiting all of these years to do. It’s natural to want to dive into all of the Halloween candy at once, but please don’t. If you’re continually over-compensating for 40 years of “I wish I had time for…” resentment (yes, let’s call it by its real name), you are pretty much guaranteed to end up in either a frenzy or a funk. You are #HashTagRetired now; you don’t have to pack 24 hours into every eight.
In the first few months, you’ll probably ram through a bunch of things you had on the back burner. But once you’ve started your tomatoes from seed, cleaned all the closets, digitized the old photos, and filled the freezer with whoopee pies, it’s time to go forward. I recommend that you look for one (yes, just one) new pastime to sample. Perhaps a new fitness regimen.
Personally, I’m big on endeavors that push the envelope; nothing’s better for your brain than learning something new. Keep in mind that there are many, many opportunities to learn at little or no cost these days. You’re a smart person; you know they’re out there. And while there are definite benefits to getting out among people, the breadth of ways to spend your time in cyberspace is almost beyond imagination. Google and ye shall find.
After a reasonable period of time, you can decide if you want to take on something more regular or involved, like a volunteer commitment or even a part-time job-ette. If you’re really motivated, you can take a big leap. I have several friends who, in a huge departure from their prior careers, took professional-level cooking or baking courses in retirement. I had another pal who was 62 when she went to work for H & R Block; she later became a tax accountant. Former President Bush spends his time painting, which Grandma Moses didn’t start till she was 78. The world, as they used to say, is your oyster.
The important thing—I repeat—is not to overbook. Give yourself some time to settle into your “one new thing” before adding anything else. If it turns out not to be your cup of tea, just move on. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone, least of all yourself, when you are #HashTagRetired.
Other than obvious situations, such as holidays or dinner guests, there’s no contest and no rush. You’re #HashTagRetired now, so you get to call the shots.