For as long as I can remember, the thought of retirement was as foreign to me as the notion I would someday fly into space. Ironically, both of those are within sight and it’s a bit off-putting!
I am not planning to retire anytime soon. But the truth is, there’s more of a traditional my career in the rear view mirror than there is ahead. And a recent milestone birthday has helped motivate me to reflect on my hobbies, interests and things that give me purpose outside of work.
The other day, I was talking to a friend about the idea of being more deliberate in my planning for the future. We both shared stories of people we know who have retired, only to find out that they were not prepared to fill all the extra time retirement brings. A lot of people–myself included–dream about things they will do when they retire. The problem is, it is more likely they won’t.
The key is to just start.
Want to learn to take up a new sport when you retire? Like pickle ball, golf, or heck, skiing? How will your body 5, 10, or even 15 years from now handle that if you don’t develop some prerequisite skills before the arthritis kicks in? Maybe starting now will slow the onset of age-related ailments.
How about painting? Have you ever thought you would do that when you retire? I have. Unless you’re an undiscovered prodigy, you may need the next few years to hone your skills so that you can actually sell one of your works.
I could continue…there are tons of examples.
It is also important to recognize what barriers are preventing you from getting started. A lack of confidence could be one. But again, not starting now because you may not be very good yet makes no sense. Fearing failure cannot be an excuse. After all, it might take me 10 years to produce a painting that I would be proud of, and if I wait until I am 60 to start, I would be cutting my artist career short.
So let’s just start.
Have you ever had similar thoughts about hobbies or things that you believe will give you joy and have put them off thinking that you will take them up someday? If so, I challenge you to join me in reshaping our mindset. Instead of fearing failure, let’s deliberately dive into the things we think will be enriching and fun. If they turn out not to be, it’s good we learn now rather than later. But if we do happen upon a craft or pastime that brings us joy and happiness, think of much more robust it will be when we have more time to devote to it.