Thursday, February 17, 2011


I like that term. It involves working at something you might enjoy but not working all the time. Working on your own schedule. Choosing the number of hours and the tasks you do. Most people to whom I have spoken on this will say that the day they retired was glorious and full of the promise of doing all the things they never had time to do when they were fully employed.

And then they started doing those things and realized that they did not want to do them after all. So they tried some other things. Each person wading through the choices and finding the ones that make them hum. I have a good friend who will retire in a couple of months and she is going to get in her car and drive off on the road trip that she has planned. How exciting to go with a general agenda but be open and flexible enough to change it as new experiences come in on the horizon.

That is what retirement should be. Having a plan but being open to new ideas and shedding the old ones that turn out not to be what you had thought they could be.

I am sure that exercising more tops any list of retirement priorities since as we age our bodies require more maintenance than they used to. But most people who actually have retired say that even though they are not working they still find it difficult to fit this in. Other things that make the list are spending time in the garden, learning to cook like a chef and travelling.

My parents said they were planning to travel and did but found that as time went on they just liked to be home in the garden and hanging with family.

So here is how I see it. Make plans. Create your wish list. Start trying each item on the list and if it fits wear it. If it doesn't leave it behind. Stay flexible and be willing to add and subtract from your list as you go.

This applies to employment too. Try out different jobs that might be fun. A barista, an usher at a major sports building, the main desk at a busy fitness centre, the zoo. Volunteer or get paid a little. The goal is to have fun and still have time to do all those things you didn't have time for when you were working. It keeps you engaged socially and let's you learn new things that engage and challenge your mind and build new webs of neurons in your brain. And that will keep you interested and interesting as you age!

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