When you enter retirement, your first action may likely be to take advantage of the ability to do nothing. From your hammock swinging in the warm sun or cozy chair in front of the fireplace, you might be smiling, sipping your coffee, thinking, “I’m finally done with that nearly life-long daily grind.” But the bliss of doing nothing—absolutely nothing—may not last you very long. If you’re like most retirees, soon, you’ll get bored.
While doing nothing can be a sigh of relief, eventually, we crave activity, challenge, accomplishment, and reward—none of which come from doing nothing. During your working years, you may have viewed your working life in a bifurcated way: work, labor, grind; relax, enjoy, rest. We grow accustomed to working hard to enjoy the fruits of our labor, even if that labor isn’t very enjoyable.
In retirement, this assumption is flipped on its head. “Work” in retirement isn’t something you have to do; it’s something you actually want to do. But when you’ve lived your whole life working to relax, it can be hard to imagine a life where you work to enjoy your life.
Now, when “work” is mentioned, it doesn’t refer to your 9-to-5; it refers to dedicating yourself to projects and endeavors that challenge you and pose an opportunity to achieve something. In other words, you’re not working for money anymore—you have that covered with a comprehensive retirement plan. Instead, you’re working for enjoyment, fulfillment, and a sense of purpose inherent to us as human beings.
In retirement, you should aim to turn your hobbies into full-time projects. A hobby is often a passive engagement in an activity. You do it for enjoyment and relaxation but don’t feel the need to challenge yourself too hard or invest too much time in it. After all, your job likely provides the challenge, the time, the reward, and the money. But without your job, you’ll have to find ways to replace the non-monetary aspects of retirement. In fact, you have the opportunity to become an expert in whatever it is you’ve always wanted to do or enjoy.
While you might not be able to join the MLB or hike Mount Everest, you can still study or engage in those things in unique ways that challenge you. Maybe you can learn how to make your own baseball bat, not just for fun, but really try to construct it to a professional standard. Maybe you can try writing a series of poems about climbing or Mount Everest. You might find that, when you read other poems, yours actually measure up, and you can find places to submit them to literary magazines or contests just to see how far they’ll go.
If you’re starting to get a clearer picture of the possibilities and opportunities you have in retirement but are unsure if your financial plan is really ready to support your lifestyle, Click HERE to sign up for a complimentary review of your financial picture with us at Integrity Financial Planning!