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Retirement can seem like this illusive trap that many of us find ourselves in. We dream about it, we talk about it, and we anxiously anticipate the day we see it.  Then that day finally arrives, the one you’ve worked hard for all these years. You walk out those doors one final time to come home and realize you have nothing to do… Now what?

‘One Day’ is Now

The lawn only needs mowing once a week, and that’s only in the summer. Laundry takes little time ever since you and your spouse became ‘empty nesters’. And the dog is actually refusing a fourth walk for the day. What can you do to fill this newfound excess of time?

Find your special purpose. No, we’re not talking about that bathroom remodel you’ve been putting off for retirement. There’s something, or someone, waiting on you. Just because you’ve retired from your career doesn’t mean that now is the time to stare at the television screen.  At this point in your life, your children, if you have any, are grown. There’s no longer an alarm clock going off every morning to get you to your job by 8 AM, or rush hour traffic delaying you from getting home. Instead, there are numerous activities that you could become involved in because you have the time now!

No Time Like The Present

There must be something you have always wanted to do, but didn’t have time for until now. Whether it’s a book you’ve been wanting to write, an instrument you’ve thought about learning to play, or taking a few strokes off your golf game, now is the time. Boredom should be off limits. 

Think about all of the places in your state you’ve never seen that could be enjoyed during a daylong outing. Travel doesn’t always mean 5-star resorts and fine dining, unless you want it to. Traveling on a budget can be just as fun, and potentially even allow you to experience more on your trip. Did you backpack out west or in Europe after college? Why not do it now in retirement? 

After years of dedication to a career, your life can be whatever you desire it to be. Every day can be filled with excitement and joy if you choose. So what makes you happy? What brings a smile to your face? How do you want to spend your days?

Serving Yourself and Others in Retirement

Think of all of the people who have impacted you since you were a child. Those people who are kin folks, who have reached out to you over the years and perhaps even helped you out. There’s a lifetime of people who may need your help, support, or just your friendship now. And you may need the same. 

A phone call, email, or better yet, a visit, may make their day. Now that you have more time, lending a hand to those who need it, and/or may be afraid to ask for it, can open up hours of conversation longing to be had. It may be a faucet needing to be replaced, landscaping to be finished, or simply a box needing to be moved. Perhaps a partner for doubles tennis, a camping trip or a fishing buddy. 

Be mindful of opportunities to help others aside from friends and family. Local churches, civic clubs and community centers are great places to look for volunteer opportunities around you. The more you become involved, the more you will want to continue to do, and the better your own health will be for it. When we help others, we tend to think less about our own needs and problems, and focus more on being the solution. It’s a state of mind.

You determine how happy you are.

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