Today sort of tied my brain in a knot. As part of my Encore Voyage, I’ve been doing some contract work as an administrative assistant. In my What Am I Now post, I talked about finding new ways to use your skills. Well mine, it turns out, have allowed me to start my own small business doing all sorts of writing, editing, production and organizational types of tasks. Seems there are some folks out there who really value my teacher’s wicked red pen and my ability to juggle lots of items at once – who knew???
One of my friends is working as a project manager on a grant to assist and encourage high school students to go on to a postsecondary education (now there’s a leap from teaching kindergarteners, huh?) We met today to discuss a whole bunch of projects that needed to be done. As I sat there with him taking pages and pages of notes, it occurred to me how exciting it is to be thinking about all of these new things and working in an entirely different realm. And there was so much to think about that it was just a little overwhelming, but so much fun! We were finishing up, talking about “retirement” and all of the new things we are exploring, when he made the following observation:
You must be like a shark –
If you stop swimming, you’ll die!
Wow! He is exactly right! The Encore Voyage is about continuing to swim, changing course and moving forward in such a way that your life makes a splash! Here are 8 strategies to keep in mind when navigating the retirement ocean:
1. Be curious – Take time to pay attention to your mental wanderings, and notice those things that pique your curiosity! There’s no time like the present to dig deeper and explore things that fascinate you!
2. Read, read, read – As the saying goes, “So many books, so little time…” Well now you have time to read not only books, but newspapers, blogs, poetry, articles. Several of my elderly relatives read daily newspapers from cover to cover and stayed mentally sharp well into their nineties! A coincidence? I think not…
3. Maintain contact with friends and colleagues – During my teaching years, I would see other adults on a daily basis, and formed lasting friendships. What I’ve learned is that it takes a deliberate effort to keep those relationships fresh. Now you must seek out opportunities to stay connected.
4. Get Unplugged – Especially from the TV, but also from other screened electronics. It would be easy to sit at home playing Candy Crush for hours, or staring at the TV, but really?….Examine your habits – just sayin’!
5. Learn new things – Listen to your heart when you hear yourself saying, “I’ve always wanted to…” Well now’s the time! First I learned how to knit, then I learned InDesign, and next I believe I’ll take a crack at Photoshop. Oh yeah, and I’m going to take up the saxophone!! So what’s that thing that you’ve always wanted to try – There’s no time like the present!
6. Volunteer – There is nothing that makes you feel more alive than to give of yourself to someone else. What are your skills and talents? How can you give them to others? Or just look around you and pay attention to the needs that you can fill. Need I say more?
7. Travel – And no, it doesn’t need to be a big expensive trip. Jeremy and I are trying to find roads in our state that we’ve never traveled on! We pack a sandwich and take off to go ‘splorin’ – you should try it!
8. Seek out new experiences – The hubs and I have created what we call Our List. If either of us starts a sentence with “I wanna….”(and it is an activity, not ‘stuff’) then we write it on Our List. The rules are simple. It doesn’t matter how big or small the activity – from going to a nearby winery (his wish), to going on a zipline, somewhere where there are monkeys (mine). We have created a long list of things we’d like to experience and will spend the rest of our lives trying to cross things off the list!
So I’m curious. Are there other strategies you’ve used to keep swimming after retirement? I’d love to hear from other sharks!