In the next 10 years the last of the baby boomers will be facing retirement and not everyone is looking at it as the promised land. Do you remember those great commercials promising “Freedom 55”? Not yet seniors, kicking up their heels, strolling the beach, traveling the world and looking so darn happy. Actually, that kind of looks like current lottery commercials too and that’s worth noting. It would seem that to have the best retirement ever, you need to sock away the cash. What if I told you that it is not the cash that’s going to create retirement nirvana for you?

Is the idea of retirement causing anxiety?

More and more what I am hearing and observing are people who are feeling anxious about how to fill those hours that are filled by work. If your social circle has been your work mates, and you have filled in the gaps with television, computer games (women over 50 spend a lot of time online playing those) or in reading, do you realistically see yourself filling a whole day that way? We take vacations as a break from work, but retirement is clearly a time of no work. So what’s a person to do?

Some folks have confided that they may consider finding a part-time job, not because of the money but to connect with others and re-create some social time. Others choose to become caregivers to their grand kids and others may get a pet. In and of themselves these are certainly plausible and yet it begs the question, are these fall back positions?

I understand the anxiety.

If we are the captains of our destiny, but feel like we are sailing without benefit of a compass how are we to set a direction?

Some people would suggest a bucket list, all the things that you have wanted to do. That is one way of approaching your next life chapter, but I would invite you to look for the underlying need. That would be purpose. What is the purpose of undertaking that list? What do you want to feel or experience? How will it help you grow? What will you learn?

If you have lost your compass or don’t know where to begin to set some of those retirement goals, then this is the perfect time to start doing some reflection. Consider what impact you want to create and among whom.

Retirement a time to create a legacy

The baby boomers promised to shake things up, change the world, and we have in countless ways. Now is the time to consider the legacies we want to leave individually and collectively. Not the ones set out by our workplaces, but those that belong to us as individuals. There are so many ways for us to do that, and all it takes is for us to note what grabs our attention. Who or what could benefit from what we know or from what we would like to know. Perhaps there is an interest you have never followed because of time or opportunity. Carve out some of that time now, find the opportunity before you quit working and see where it takes you. You might find yourself in uncharted personal waters, but you will be finding your compass point, the one that will guide you when your time is no longer within the confines of a workplace.

Need some ideas? I will explore that in future posts. Already retired and have ideas to share, please leave a comment below.

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