I read a very interesting post over on the Intentional Retirement blog titled, “My 10 Word Definition of Retirement”. I hope you’ll check it out. It’s a good read. Two things I found interesting about the post:
- Everyone’s definition of retirement is different. And I mean this from multiple viewpoints. On an individual level and as a family. Because everyone’s definition is different, the path to get there is going to look a little different as well.
- Everyone should take the time to develop their own definition. I think we have the foundation for the definition in “not working full-time” or “collecting Social Security”. But what does it really mean in terms of how we spend our time?
My real takeaway from the 10 word definition post is that we can create this activity for ourselves. You can do this a couple of ways:
Make a list. Put a date on your calendar to come up with 10 words that describe what you want out of retirement. Or put a piece of paper on your refrigerator and write down one word a day for 10 days. You get the point. After you create the list, put it aside for a few months and come back to it. Does it still describe what you want from retirement?
I could see this being an annual activity. Once a year, pull the list out and make sure you’re okay with it. If you want to change words, do it. At some point, you might want to share your list with family members. See if there are common words. Maybe there needs to be some discussion or compromise about other words.
Make a vision board. If you prefer visuals to words, find 10 images that represent retirement. You can keep them in a paper journal or post them on a site like Pinterest. (And if you’re not ready to share your images with the world, just label your retirement board “secret”.) Like with the words, you can revisit your images whenever you wish and change them as you like.
One of the things that’s nice about vision boards is you can eventually create smaller sections for areas like second careers, retirement locations, or retirement finances and add articles you want to refer to later. The other thing that’s nice about vision boards is you can search the internet for plenty of creative inspiration. Just be sure that the inspiration is something you really want.
It’s never too early or late to start thinking about the definition of your retirement. The definition is going to change. Trust me, I’m not retired (yet!) and my definition has already gone through some changes. And I’m cool with that.
My last takeaway from the post was that even when I become retired, it might make sense to every once in a while, revisit my definition of retirement. Very similar to my career. My career goals when I was in my 20’s weren’t the same as when I was in my 40’s. I could see retirement being the same way.
I’m beginning to think that the key to a successful retirement involves many of the same skills that I’m using to manage my career. Who woulda thought?!