There is research that concludes that people who have goals, plans or projects after retirement lead happier lives *. I guess that is whether or not your reach them? Stopping work can be voluntary, necessary for health reasons or not your choice at all. The realization is that you may now have 20-25-30 years ahead of you. Yes, that is even more daunting as you worry about stretching your financial assets. The prospect of losing personal connections is also foreboding.
Since the focus right now is on listing accomplishments or lack thereof, I thought it would be good time to introduce an exercise in setting goals and tallying your wins. The simplest way is to make an annual list of goals, of things that you hope to do or get done. Half way through the year you may forget or push off to later at least half of the goals on your list. Yes, taking long awaited trips, learning something completely new or totally immersing yourself in an activity you have never had the time for, is what retirement is all about. But somewhere on that list should be an investment in your future independence.
Sometimes there are things we seem to never get around to. Years ago when I worked with a sheltered workshop, one of the production managers had a way of getting his workers to face some things that had to change. He had a list of mutually agreed upon goals that were good for everyone. He wrote them in divided sections on a paper plate and stuck in on the wall. Everyone had to agree on the goals. Those that were harder or more important, got more space, a bigger piece of the pie so to speak. He would then ‘spin’ the wheel to determine what goal they would all work on. They stuck with that goal until it was accomplished and then marked D O N E! on that section. He call it a get a’ round tuit. Kind of a wheel of fortune that will always bring you back to what is most important and undone.
Aging in place is still a new a concept for many people and you may associate it with someone trying to sell you expensive renovations. Starting a list of what you may need to help you ‘stay put’ in your chosen home may not be easy or open to debate. Fixing safety issues like improving your lighting or adding grab bars or tossing throw rugs, can be an easy add to the list. Investigating who you can hire to help with future yard work or simple renovations is another. Finally figuring out who is your living will person or if you need to pursue a second opinion on a medical issue are more subtle issues. Successful aging in place requires keeping a bunch of balls in the air at the same time.
So maybe listing or mixing in some of these goals alongside taking that class or making that trip would be a good idea. The time table is yours, but then you will eventually get around to it. Otherwise in your new busy retired or semi retired life, you will always put off what may be the hardest.