One good thing about retirement is we have all the time in the world to do what we want, The sad thing about retirement is we have all the time in the world to do what we want. Time seems to go faster though. Why is that? Before we know it another year has gone by, and we didn’t seem to have all the time in the world to do what we want!
Discovering the Problem
Maybe you are wiser than I am. Is there a course on how to retire?
Life can change when we don’t have a work schedule or a reason to get out of bed other than the stiffness that occurs when we don’t get out of bed and the depression that sets in with nonproductivity. I have been retired now for four years. There were things I wanted to accomplish like gardening, exercising, reading and other hobbies. I love to knit, and so I found outlets for things I knit that are charitable. I have met new friends in knitting clubs and classes. I felt productive and social. These are qualities of life that are vital, yet I felt something was missing.
I authored a book, which is a big project. I joined a writer’s guild, went to writer’s conferences, book signings, read books on writing and took online courses. I was productive, and I have received kudos from my readers. (Experiencing God While Caregiving, from Amazon) I had work to do which led to more work, like this website and these blogs.
Of course, I had the usual things like maintaining the house, laundry, yard work which I could do with more leisure than in my younger years—working years.
Something I’ve Noticed
I don’t know if this is true of everyone, but in talking to some of my female friends, I have heard some depressing words after the age of 70. They are depressed because they are losing some of their abilities like seeing and hearing. They don’t like to drive after dark because their night vision is not excellent and oncoming car lights nearly blind them or at least make their path ahead confusing. They don’t want to give up on life, and they don’t want to live just waiting to die. Money is a concern even with investments. The world seems so unsettled these days, and that makes it hard to plan. I feel sure every generation goes through this, but when we look at the upcoming generation, we wonder if there is any hope.
Every day seems like a fog of activity, yet we are not sure we accomplish anything. The grandchildren offer activity and schedules for ball games, recitals, and together time. The TV provides some channels from which we can learn some things. There are books and hobbies and time with friends and family. There are church and civic activities. We can stay busy as long as nothing requires us to drive after dark. So why is there a feeling of uselessness? Or a sense of despair?
The Answer Could Be Simple
I decided to start the year as usual. Looking over the past year and considering what I want to do in the new year. I even set a theme for the year and got a prayer partner to help me stay on track. I bought a Christian Planner and another book called “The Mastery Journal.” I spent New Year’s morning learning how to use these books to my advantage. They asked me to write my goals and dreams for each day, each week, and the year. They ask me to dream. I was shocked to discover that with all my activity, I had no goals and for a while, I couldn’t imagine what kind of goal I could have.
The idea of dreaming again? My first reaction was—why? I don’t think of myself as a going nowhere kind of person. I think I still have things to offer. So, why the blur and fogginess of a future with dreams? Do I really believe that my life has come down to watching others achieve their dreams? Is my goal to simply get through the rest of my life the best I can? What even is the best I can?
My planner suggested a vision board. I had done this when I was in sales. I took some poster board and put on it pictures from magazines that portrayed my dreams of goals for my future—places I wanted to go, people, I wanted to see or spend time with and things or changes I wanted. Looking at the board daily, kept my goals and dreams in front of me. Having goals and dreams gave me direction and purpose. As I started filling out y vision board, I got excited about the new year and its possibilities. It got me thinking and planning. Filling out my “mastery journal” became fun instead of burdensome. I started to see options where I was losing hope.
Go to a dollar store and get a piece of poster board. Look through some magazines that have pictures of things you like. Some of my goals or dreams include gardening, so I want to get a gardening magazine. Some of the ads in the magazine may have pictures of adults and children; they can become pictures portraying how I want to spend time with my grandchildren or a picture of a tropical paradise may be a dream vacation. Be creative! Dream again!
Once we start dreaming again, we can set goals and steps to achieve those goals. What steps, for instance, do you need to take to be able to take that dream vacation? For me, it will mean researching where I can get the best price for a solar fountain for my summer writing space. Think big! You may have to pare it down to fit your lifestyle, but dreams are dreams!