If we enter into our lives after our working career has ended with the intention of being able to say; “Mine is a life being well lived”-we, ideally, find ourselves in the enviable position of having time to ourselves. That is the time made available to us by not being a slave to the tyranny of the time clock or the mandate to be at work.
What we do with this boon is the most important decision we have to make. It is a life decision. Management expert, Peter Drucker called time our most valuable resource.
The single best use of this resource is to use a portion of it engaged in thinking. Without the pressure of a deadline we can really take time to get reacquainted with ourselves. We can ask ourselves; What am I, now that I am no longer ————-(fill in the blank.) What am I and what is the best use of my time now that I have complete control of it?
But do we? I’ve found it easy to be pulled in hundred counter-productive different directions. There is a demand for our time and our talents by our families, community organizations and most of all our internal cravings for all of those things we felt were being denied us by our obligations and responsibilities.
When my wife and retired and bought a little house on the Costa del Sol in the south of Spain we had a large number of ex-pat neighbors from England who habitually met at 4:00 p.m. for gin and tonics and after 2 or 3 hours of drinking and laughing they’d stagger home. We currently live on a golf course in Southern Arizona and a good many of our neighbors here play golf 3 or 4 days a week.
It’s useful for me to evaluate (judge) these activities for myself in terms of return on investment of time.
Martin Seligman’s, “Flourish, A Visionary Understanding of Happiness and Well Being,” research concludes that the measure for successful living goes beyond happiness, a necessary but insufficient component. But he also cites, engagement in one’s activities, one’s relationships and purposeful or meaningful activities.
All of this suggests to me that it might be more useful for us to examine the reasons behind our involvement in our day to day activities to determine if they are, in fact, contributing to that condition of a well lived life?
Note: I’ve put together a booklet on my preliminary findings on the answers to the questions and answers that retirees are asking and would be happy to share it with you in hopes that you could provide me with some feedback that I can incorporate in my new book.
What are the issues you anticipate facing in retirement? If you are already retired, what challenges have you had to deal with and how have you dealt with them?
Email me at tubachouse @hotmail.com and I’ll forward the booklet to you.