October 21, 2018
Go-Go, Slow-Go, No-Go: Is This A Smart Retirement Life Plan?
I have written before about the three stages of retirement: excitement and euphoria, then panic and fear, followed by settling in and enjoying the freedom.
But, Go-Go, Slow-Go, No-Go is a bit different. Instead of thinking about time management or finding a passion, these three phrases do an excellent job of describing an approach to a satisfying retirement journey from an activity standpoint.
We are aware of the changes in our energy level, physical stamina, and overall health as we age. Obsessing about this reality is a waste of time. What we can do is manage our approach to living to match what is likely to occur.
During the Go-Go stage we have the energy, physical and mental stability, and desire to do things. We have determined that our financial situation will allow us to splurge for the time being. For many this means travel. This is the time for that extended road trip, tour the country in an RV, take a walking tour across Ireland, board a cruise for a trip across the Pacific, visit the Holy Land...whatever is part of your dream list. We are at the peak of our retirement health and monetary stability.
For others, Go-Go might mean going back to school to get the degree you have always wanted. Hours of studying, rushing from classroom to classroom, balancing a home life and a school life is not for the faint of heart.
For the athletically inclined The Go-Go phase means ski trips, long distance bike rides, taking part in swim meets, joining the tennis club and perfecting your backswing. It means a real dedication to workouts at the gym or extended walking commitments.
At some point, and it differs for all of us, we move into the Slow-Go period of retirement. With a diminished energy level, maybe less physical stamina, or a need to pull back on spending, the focus becomes a bit closer to home. This is when we think about remodeling or improving our home, or even downsizing so there is less maintenance to worry about.
Slow-Go doesn't have to mean no travel, just trips that tax us a little less. Maybe a packaged tour takes the place of independent trips. A long weekend in a favorite place instead of a 2 week driving tour sounds more appealing.
Instead of going back to college full time, Slow-Go is the time for enrichment classes at the local community college. It is the phase when hobbies become more important. With more time at home, we develop our woodworking, quilting, writing, or auto repair skills. Starting a home-based business built around one of these hobbies often occurs.
The third stage, No-Go, is when our interests, desire, stamina, and health are more likely to limit what we can safely and comfortably do. Importantly, I want to emphasize that No-Go does not mean being parked in from of a TV 6 hours a day, or glued to your easy chair. It doesn't mean cocooning inside your four walls.
Rather, this is the perfect time to work on projects and interests close to home. Online courses in subjects you've always wanted to explore, a reading plan centered on a deeper study of a favorite author, period of history or subject, and games designed to keep your mind stimulated are excellent options. A day trip organized by your local senior center might be fun and get you out of the house. Spending more time with your extended family members or friends can be a good fit.
No-Go may involve a tightened budget as health costs increase. But, with less travel, expensive vacations, and major house remodels, your financial direction can more easily be adjusted.
These three activity and energy stages are a natural part of the aging process. Each of us moves from stage to stage on our own unique timetable. That difference is important to respect in ourselves and others. This awareness is extra-important if a spouse or partner is not in the same phase as you.
Again, I want to emphasize that these stages do not affect your ability to have a fully satisfying retirement. Like all of life, we are happiest when our abilities, interests, and goals are in alignment.