It has finally arrived – that moment you have daydreamed about for decades. You are retiring. You know what you will not be doing, but do you know what you will be doing? You will not be getting up early, drinking pots of coffee, fighting the traffic jams on your daily commute, doing repetitive work that does not always bring you joy, having a few hours to do 25 necessary things like laundry, falling into bed and getting up the next day to do it all again. But knowing what you will not be doing or where you will not be going everyday is not a roadmap for retirement.
The odds are you will miss little if any of the items on that list. It is time to evaluate your options for how to use your time when you stop working. If you are having a hard time visualizing what your days can be like or you are overwhelmed by the many possibilities, do not worry. Here is a roadmap for the first day of your retirement.
Tuck the alarm clock into a drawer. You will still need it on occasion, when you have a morning appointment, or you have a plane to catch. Other than things like that, stow the annoying noisemaker and get a good night’s sleep. Most people do not get enough sleep to maintain a healthy immune system and avoid illness. Consider sleep as an investment for a healthy retirement.
Consider your options. Grab a notepad and go to a beautiful park on a lovely day. Make a list of all the things you ever wanted to do, but life got in the way. Some of your previous dreams will probably make you chuckle now, but that is part of the fun of this process. Make sure your list contains at least a few things that are all about you, like getting pedicures, growing that handlebar mustache, or rebuilding that classic car. You have worked hard – now you get to have some fun.
Think about all the time you had to waste stuck in traffic jams and doing things like grocery shopping at times when the stores were packed because of your work schedule. Now, you can run your errands when the worker bees are slaving away at their 9 to 5 jobs, and the stores are empty with no lines at the registers. Savor every moment of your freedom. You get to do things when you want to do them, not when you can cram it into your day.
Go on a scavenger hunt for senior discounts and deals. Take advantage of every senior special that interests you, from unlimited data on your cell phone to free coffee to double coupons. The savings will add up, and you will have fun.
You now have the time to travel, but you might worry about the cost. There are more travel deals for seniors than you will ever have time to explore. You now have the time to browse the travel packages online. Last minute deals can work for you, because you do not have to take time off from your job. In the past, the time spent making travel arrangements might have been a chore because you had so little time. However, now, you can take a virtual vacation, by looking at all the options available for you before you head off on your actual vacation.
Identify all of the people and organizations that you never quite had enough time to invest in. Now is the time to spend the time developing and cultivating your relationships. Spend time volunteering for a cause or organization you believe in. Using your time and talents, or findings some new talents, for something you believe in may bring you more joy and satisfaction than you thought possible.
Following this roadmap for retirement will will be very helpful until you find your own way in retirement.
AARP. “Congratulations, You’re Retired! How What? (Do’s and don’ts for day one of the good times)” (accessed July 16, 2019) https://www.aarp.org/retirement/planning-for-retirement/info-2019/do-and-dont.html