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I’ve written a bit about retirement providing the freedom to spend your time how you want. It really is a remarkable thing to consider each day separately and define it how you wish. This is something you dream about as soon as you make the decision to retire, of course. That’s not to say life doesn’t provide all kinds of “must do” activities and chores – reality still exists! Outside of those essential matters, time truly is yours to spend how you wish in retirement. There is no boss other than yourself. We all think we know what this will be like but experiencing it is a different thing entirely.
Only two months into this I have found the freedom to spend time as I wish can be overwhelming. Candidly, I didn’t expect that at all! I think some of that is just how I’m wired. I have many interests, some of which I’ve been excited to explore for years. If I’m not careful, I’ve found I can get myself wrapped around the axle of not knowing what to do next. As others have written, having routines can help with this. For example, I’ve started to block time for chores vs. learning and personal development. It’s not a schedule, but structuring the time helps me organize that vast space of the “what could be”. I’ve seen the positive impact of this already but I know I have to keep at it.
The other thing I’m trying to avoid is the peril of stretching myself too thinly. I am prone to feel like I need to make progress in multiple areas at the same time else I’m falling behind. I’ve been documenting my “idea funnel” of things I’d like to explore using Notion, while reminding myself it’s a wish list. There is no pressure to advance on these things today. I capture things that are truly tasks separately, and deadlines often apply. Right now, I am focusing on two areas for personal development and pleasure: this website and cooking. Reminding myself of that prioritization is helping me not feel guilty about lack of progress in other areas. We all need to define our critical few priorities, whether retired or not!
I expect my feelings on these topics will continue to evolve as I gain more experience in this new way of living. I’m looking forward to reading my posts six months or a year down the line to see just how much has changed. I am fully prepared to be very surprised!
[I’ve realized my initial posts have been a bit lengthy. This is my attempt to put a shorter article together to capture the kinds of things I’m thinking about. Please do share any feedback on the various article types and what is of most interest to you! Thanks.]