A month or so ago I received an e-mail from Carl, a reader who wanted to share his story. Since I know there is a healthy interest in how folks live a satisfying retirement, his thoughts are certainly worth sharing with you.
I think it's great you started a blog that addresses retirement. Everyone dreams of not working. But I'm not sure they think about how they will spend their time. I retired from the Automotive industry after 35 yrs, at 54 yrs of age. That was two years ago. I also wrote songs on the side for 20 yrs.
It took a year or so to get a schedule going. I try to run errands, fish, exercise in the mornings. I am a safety & security volunteer for our private lake and neighborhood homeowners association watch, which I patrol at various times of the day and night. I usually Work on my music projects after lunch and a nap, until around 5:00 pm. Then I spend the rest of the evening with my wife,who is younger and still works. I stay up until 11:30pm most nights.
I believe each person has to hammer out their own schedule. Whatever works is fine. The main thing is having the flexibility we never had while working to suddenly change your plans at the drop of a hat. That's what I most enjoy about retirement is flexibility!
I still make sure I'm producing results, just on my terms, not someone else's. My advice to would be retiree's, is to find something you're passionate about before you retire, and start doing it before you retire. Then it will follow you into retirement and become part of your new agenda.
Also, always build some goof off time in your schedule. After all that's what part of retirement should be. After 2 full years of retirement I'm still honing my schedule and loving retirement.
Take Care, Carl
Notice four important parts of Carl's story:
1) It took him a year to figure out a schedule that works for him. That's just about average. I, on the other hand, was a slow learner. It took me almost three.
2) He understands the importance of having a passion or interest to follow you into retirement. It may not be the one that you maintain forever, but you need something to give you a focus as you make the transition from working to the next phase of life.
3) Flexibility is one of the most important traits needed after retirement. Planning and preparing for what you expect to happen is vital, but so is realizing that your plans might become irrelevant overnight.
4) Build goof off time into your day. In this context "goof off" doesn't imply wasted time. I think he is saying don't be so structured that you can't decide to savor a cup of coffee for an hour while you watch clouds blow by, or enjoying the pleasure of a movie at 2 in the afternoon.
I can't say it often enough: retirement is unique for everyone. Reading about someone else's day is entertaining and potentially helpful. But, if you try to pattern your retirement after Carl's (or mine) you will ultimately be dissatisfied.
Find your own path and enjoy the journey.