what to do in retirement part 1

things to do in retirement

things to do in retirement

When we decided to move to Spain and focus on raising our kids in a foreign land, there were all sorts of fears that popped up. Will I be bored? What will I do all day? Will it be lonely? Or will we want to kill each other?

Retirement: World’s longest coffee break. -Unknown

My husband and I have always been A-type, work-a-holics. We didn’t know how else to live, at the detriment of our mental and physical health. The best thing we did is to decide to make a drastic change in the way we live our life. This post lays down the concepts that will be the foundation to your retirement prep. If you are considering a retirement, major life style change or a sabbatical, here are 5 tips on planning what to do in retirement:

1. Make a list of things you have always wished you had time for

A small journal is a perfect way to start your new life. Take stock of your life and put it on paper. It’s a wonderful way to follow your progress. To start, make a list of all your bucket list items, as well as other things you wish you had more time for.

See what gets you most excited on this list and circle it or highlight it somehow. Do you see a pattern? Are there some things than can be grouped? This is the beginning of your roadmap. Refer to this list when you are planning what to do with your new, retired life.

2. Be honest and identify your weaknesses

Now that you have a list of life purpose things that make you happy, it’s time to take stock of what keeps you from it. This part is difficult. It’s time to be brutally honest with yourself and acknowledge what makes you a pain in the ass. You will need to know about these weaknesses and start acknowledging and working on them. A new life with lots of time on your hands can sometimes magnify your negative traits. Especially if you are retiring as a couple. Do your partner a favor and work on improving your weaknesses.

I attempted to recruit my husband for help with this task. I wish you could see the look on his face. All I asked was, “Babe, what things about me annoy the hell out of you?”

Husband – nervous grimace, hands in pocket, looks down at his shoes, no answer.

“Brad, did you hear? I’m trying to be a better person by making a list of what I can change. What about me do you wish you could change?”

You’d think I was asking him if I looked fat or something.

Bright red face, “Uhhh, can we talk about this later, I’m late for surfing.”

“But you’re not in your wetsuit,” I said.

Road Runner courtesy of Looney Tunes
Road Runner courtesy of Looney Tunes

And just like the Road Runner, my husband was gone!

An assessment of your weaknesses is something you need to do for yourself. My husband was too smart to go there. I would have probably skewered him if he told me I am blunt yet overly sensitive. Even though it’s true.

 3. Consider the Renaissance

Think of your retirement as Da Vinci would. A Renaissance, or rebirth. A return to the arts, humanities and culture. Thinking about a Renaissance will give you many ideas for what to do in retirement. Make time to learn to paint or visit museums, learn a new language, catch up on the classics and whatever interests you.

4. Go Back to Basics

Retirement: It’s nice to get out of the rat race, but you have to learn to get along with less cheese. -Gene Perret

Your lifestyle mindset must change. To retire, you will probably live on a budget. Getting back to basics not only saves you money, it saves you time and effort. Make a list of what you will let go of. Some ideas to get you back to basics:

  • Clear out the clutter
  • Downsize
  • Stop seeing the word downsizing as cringe-worthy
  • Slower ways are usually cheaper

I wrote a post about appliances I don’t miss, as an example of back to basics. Slower ways are usually cheaper leads me to the last point.

5. Prepare to Live Slow


[bctt tweet=”Be the turtle, not the hare. Your retirement days are not a race.”]

Relish the fact that you no longer have an impossible to-do list and do a few things slowly and well instead. Some things that we do slowly and well:

  • Cook from scratch
  • Buy groceries daily or every other day as we need them
  • Enjoy long, lingering meals
  • Walk instead of drive
  • Wander while running errands
  • Talk to strangers on the way somewhere
  • Drive or take a bus or train instead of flying

On the next post, I will be sharing activities and what to do in retirement, to make your days worth waking up early for.

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