Resolution #1: Become a student of retirement.
The more I learn about retirement the more I realise how much more there is to learn, which is possibly why I’ve not taken the final step and stopped working altogether. When I’m working I think of my days off and when I’m on a day off I think about work! I’m still a little uncomfortable in both and not ready to give up either! However, retirement isn’t what it used to be and continuing to do whatever makes you happy is of course allowed at any age!! I am fortunate that I am able to reduce my hours and retain some of the positives for work but also have an extended weekend too. It must be more difficult to be in a situation where it’s one or the other or even more so if one or other is forced upon one if the finances don’t allow retirement or if redundancy and ageism ends a working life and makes a return near impossible. Where possible I find what some call ‘mirroring’ to be a good first step, first find someone successful at what you’d like to be or do and mirror them – if it works for them, maybe it’ll work for you too!
Another good first step is avoiding the pitfalls of others as well as not trying to reinvent the wheel and learn from others what works for them and the evidence that back this up. To some extent this is what I have tried to do in this blog – go back through some of my earlier postings and you may save yourself some study time!
Resolution #2: Revisit your hobbies and passions.
This follows on neatly from #1. What made us happy and content in the past are the very things likely to do the same when we have more time on our hands. Of course, there are things we gave up that were always going to be time limited, contact sports for example. However, there will be others that we could never make time for or slipped down the list of priorities. I restarted guitar lessons 30 years after giving up!
Resolution #3: Reach out to friends.
Again, this follows on neatly from #2. We may well have been too busy to keep up with old friends whilst working flat out or moved away or out of that particular sphere. Now, however we might well be in the same boat and have a lot in common, we even have time to visit – even cross country!
The New Year is a great time to reach out and social media for all it’s faults is a great way of finding people and connecting. Patch Adams said “Reach out and you’ll never be lonely!” – but more than that connecting and catching up can be invigorating and few if any will do anything but thank you for doing so!
Make it a resolution in 2021 to connect with loved ones—especially using social media, video chat, and phone calls to keep them safe as we socially distance. Thanks to technology, keeping in touch is easier than ever.
Resolution #4: Exercise and Eat healthier.
I think I might leave this as a given and say only that this time try to keep it up! Dry January or Veganuary do it for some but allow us to focus on the end of the month and going back to our old ways. I’d suggest limiting the ambition at the start – make yourself promises that are easier to keep – alcohol free days and a diet that allows flexibility and sustainability – rule nothing out but limit what goes in!!
Resolution #5: Explore your future life.
Is where you live now and the house you live in forever? Do you have a dream of moving somewhere else and downsizing or are your current neighbourhood and house ‘keepers’?
Make time, preferably before retirement to immerse yourself in your future life even if it’s only for a long weekend. What looks like paradise might fade once you spend time there ‘living’ rather than holidaying! Do, the ‘normal’ things and check out the locals and how life might be lived if this was home.
Resolution #6: Determine how much money you’ll REALLY need.
I’ve left this to last for two reasons. Firstly, there is an enormous amount of information out there, unfortunately much of it is contradictory or not relevant to your personal situation. Secondly, just that – It’s personal – If you want to downsize and move out of the city for a simpler life you’ll likely need less than if you want to travel the world first class, eat at 5* restaurants, drink the finest wines and drive the latest Maserati.
Have a very happy 2021 and remember its the Time Of Your Life!!