One of the great pleasures of embarking on retirement is having the time and freedom to attack your to-do list. Who among us has not compiled a wish list of the many things we want to do once we finally retire? All those adventures and activities and interests we have been too busy to pursue while working and raising a family can now ascend to top priority. Starting right now we get to do what we want. What better than working our way through one after another of those long delayed but highly anticipated pending projects and special plans?
Having a retirement to-do list can also help smooth out the transition into full-time retired living. Those first months and sometimes years when we find ourselves solely responsible for filling the hours with meaningful activities can be daunting. Having a compilation of things to do not only helps keep us busy but can make retirement a positive experience from day one.
What’s on your retirement to-do list?
For many the first order of the day once retirement rolls in is getting on the travel train – or plane or boat or whatever your preferred method of transport. Now that you have time and while you are still in good physical condition the world beckons. Some have a specific destination in mind, a place they have read about and researched and pictured themselves visiting for as long as they can remember. Others take advantage of the expertise offered by services that specialize in recommending the perfect travel itinerary based on your personal interests, style and desired activities.
And some prefer the flaneur approach, heading out the door with no destination in mind happily wandering toward new and unexpected discoveries. Whatever your particular inclination, travel is an exciting and fulfilling piece of your second act.
It might be easy finding an excuse not to exercise when you have no available time with all your energies going into doing the job and fulfilling family duties. No more. Now you are retired and have time to take care of yourself. And if you hope to make the most of your second act you need to do so. Adding fitness goals to your retirement to do list is a winner for all concerned. Not only will you look and feel better physically but your whole mental outlook improves. With more energy you can do more of those things you love. You can spend quality time with those who matter most. Your to do list has a good chance of getting to done. Getting fit is not just for you but also everyone in your life.
Fix-it/make it better
How about all of those need-to-fix situations around the home and garden? I am talking about the gate that never quite closes right or the neglected drip sprinkler system, the cabinets that look dated and worn or the fading wall paint, those things that you are aware of but just have not found the time or motivation to address. Retirement is the perfect time to break out those dusty tools and forgotten talents and make things better. Even if you have never done it before the self-help available on YouTube and Google can make you a tool man/woman before you know it.
Beyond the basic fix-it aspect is the creative part of doing things yourself. You may find you have a talent for interior decorating or garden design. What about writing a book or trying your hand at painting? Set the creative you free and see what happens.
Scratching these fix-it items from your retirement to-do list, one at a time, can be satisfying on its own. And remember there are no deadlines – take your time, do it right and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Try something new
The nice thing about a to-do list is it is a living document. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself adding two new items for each one you remove! And that’s okay. Remember you have time, lots of it. You may discover things you never thought you would be interested in until now – make room for them on the list. Your neighbor might share an experience that you find intriguing – feel free to give it a try on your own. Our new motto should be “don’t be shy, give it a try”.
Tastes may change as you continue along your retirement journey. You may discover new passions you did not have a decade ago. My wife is becoming quite the quilter, something she was never interested in until retired. I am becoming somewhat of a history buff something I never would have been interested in years ago. Retirement is a great time to feed your curiosity.
Since I am a few years into retirement my original to do list is pretty much done. But the additions I have made to this living document should keep me busy into the foreseeable future. There is nothing better than scratching off a completed item unless it might be adding something new and exciting to work toward. You never know what might find its way onto your retirement to do list and that is half the fun!