June 7, 2016
You’re Doing Nothing Wrong In Your Retirement
For lots of reasons retirement seems to bring out the critics in us and in others. Too often, we are convinced we are doing it all wrong. We didn't plan well financially. Our kids live a thousand miles away and we only see them twice a year, but we love our home, too. We haven't found a passion that has us so excited we bounce out of bed at 5 in the morning to get started. We do a little volunteering but not nearly as much as others seem to. We binge-watch shows on Netflix instead of taking art classes or going to plays. In short, we are messing up our retirement.
Stop. Rewind. Reboot. Reject your internal judge. A satisfying retirement is an individually-designed unique path. Since unique means there is nothing else like it in the universe, you can't be doing things wrong....there is nothing to compare your retirement to. There is no way to judge unique as either right or wrong. That's the beauty of living a unique life.
Isn't that an empowering thought? You don't have to compare anything you are doing to what another is doing. Whatever books, the Internet, or your friends say may be well-intentioned and designed to be helpful. There are good ideas, or new concepts to consider. Hints and tips from others may be worth adopting. But, you can't be wrong, you can only determine you need to make a change.
Now, this doesn't mean you can't make mistakes. It doesn't mean you could have done something differently that might have been more satisfying for you. It doesn't mean you won't make adjustments to your retirement lifestyle.
But, those things are not wrong. They represented your best decision at the time. The choices were what you believed best suited you at that moment. If some of those choices proved to not work well for you, then you adjust them. You find something that fits your needs, your wants, your comfort zone. Your retirement evolves as you do.
Would I live the same lifestyle now that I did when I was in my 20's, playing rock music on the radio, even if I could? Not for a second. Would I want to repeat my 30's as a new dad. No. Would I have wanted to live in my 40's the way I am living now? Of course not.
Every decade of my life has involved changes in attitudes and decisions. What I have done along the way did not always have the best results. So, I adjusted or replaced what had been parts of my life with something more in tune with the essential me, and those changes happen over and over again, especially in retirement because I have the freedom to make those changes.
I've done nothing "wrong" in my retirement, and neither have you. It is just not possible.