Did you ever sit and ask yourself “What next?” It is often a scary and very difficult question to answer. As I am nearing my retirement from teaching (the next few years), I often spend time contemplating what I will do next. I try to get a realistic idea of life as a retired person when we have our extended week vacations, but know that this is not a true view as we often try to squeeze everything in that has to get done into a short time period. So what if your time is unlimited? What if it doesn’t matter if you do it today or tomorrow or next week? How do you stay focused and live life to the fullest?
Big questions like these need real thought and exploration. I often try to picture my life on a daily basis and when I put the activities in each day, I know that it will take motivation, energy and consistency to help achieve a healthy, fulfilled retirement. Having a plan and sticking to it is so important to avoid being home in retirement and saying “what now?”.
Do I see myself sitting on a beach, volunteering in the community or getting a part time job? Perhaps for some of the time. Do I see myself going to the gym every single day instead of trying to squeeze it in after a long day of working with children? These are all visions that focus me to decide what I want to do next. Mapping out a typical day in my mind makes it more of a realistic goal.
I have many friends that have retired and their advice is to plan ahead. Write a list of all the things you want to do, places you want to go and imagine your typical day. Think about what you wanted to do in your life that you didn’t because it wouldn’t pay the bills. Now that you have planned for your retirement and have a good idea of the money coming in and going out every month, what is it that you want to really do to feel complete in your life?
As I ponder and plan for this upcoming change in my life in the next few years, I am always making lists in my mind, in my phone and even in my plan book. Always reading, I am always making note of something that catches my eye that I want to look into at a later date. Just this weekend I wrote down two courses at my local BOCES that I may be interested in taking — maybe some computer based learning (programs I am not fluent in) and a cooking class (a type of food I would like to try to cook but never had time with a work schedule) and maybe a new language
What is on your bucket list? If someone told you that you can do anything for one year, no questions asked, what would be on your list? My list includes going to Italy and Greece, traveling within the U.S. to places like Arizona, Tennessee and South Carolina, and at home minimizing collections that are taking up space and organizing my living space. These are just a few items from my list. No matter how old you are, you should always write down your dreams and goals. That makes them more attainable.
Most importantly I look forward to being more mindful of activities I am pursuing as I will be rushing around less and taking in all that I dreamed of doing since working. So what is it that you think about every day when you are working? What would you rather be doing? Start keeping track of your thoughts, save them for the future and you will always be busy in your retirement. Happy dreaming!