Okay, you are ready to retire. You have your financial plan all sorted out, you have your first post retirement trip planned and you have even started to disconnect from your workplace by saying no more often. Yet, despite all of this you really haven’t done the one thing that will matter most when you actually retire.
What is that?
Well, I think the single most under rated things people can do for their retirement is planning out what you day to day existence is going to look like. Pardon? Day to day? Why the hell does that matter?!?
It matters because let’s face it after the first big trip is over and the initial emotional high of retirement wears off (and yes it will wear off at some point) what you are left with is asking what am I going to be doing next Tues at 3pm. No that isn’t a terribly exciting question but it is an important one to ask yourself if you want to have a happy retirement.
Retirement more than anything else is about drastically altering your day to day existence. Your job will be gone and now you will have all this time to do things but how exactly are you going to decide what to do and when to do it? And if you haven’t given any thought to how you will live day to day, you might find yourself bored, anxious and unsure about living your new lifestyle.
So really what are you doing next Tues at 3pm after you retire? No idea…you might have a problem coming up.
I’m not saying you need to know exactly what you are doing but you should have an idea of what you could be doing. What hobbies will you be working on? What goals that matter to you do you want to complete? When do you want to get those goals done? What exactly is your day to day going to consist of?
And it is perfectly find to just focus on relaxing initially but eventually you will get the itch to do more than try to clear your Netflix to watch list or finish reading a 15 book series. These things are fun but since you don’t actually create or work towards anything concrete they don’t fill you up in the long run.
And it might be tempting to consider the fun answer of: I’m doing nothing. Nothing is fine when you need to relax but you also have to consider that being happy also means accomplishing something meaningful to you. Now exactly what that is can be hugely subjective but the key is to have something long term that you are working towards.
What exactly are you going to be doing with your life now that you are retired? For me, one of my big things is writing books. Why? I really love reading and writing books. It’s really time consuming work to do and yes it is frustrating at times but I enjoy the result. But that is just my answer, you need to find your own and while you don’t need to know exactly right away giving the matter some thought can significantly improve our odds of enjoying your retirement.
After that then you can look at building out what your day to day will consist of. Keep in mind you can fill it with many things and keep changing it up. I, for example, like to cycle through hobbies. So this week I might focus on playing old school video games, next week will be focused on building terrain for our D&D game and the week after I might focus on reading a few books. The point is I like the variety of hobbies and it allows me breaks on them when I get stuck on something.
So what do you plan to fill your day to day with?