In making resolutions for the first year of my retirement, there are some resolutions that I intentionally omitted. They are things that I do intend to do in my retirement but have no intention of doing the first year (or possibly even two) of my retirement. I ran across a "retirement transitions list" on a newly discovered blog (But What Now?) Her recommendation to initially just give yourself time to "be" hits the nail on the head for me:
I may be speaking only for myself, although I don’t think so. As humans we tend to want to fill every void with some new activity, some new decision, a fix or something, anything, to keep us from just being with ourselves as we move from one life phase to another. I remember when I was younger and I was unemployed for a period of time. Looking back on it now, I had enough money and resources to live on, but I stressed about finding a new job to the detriment of being able to just enjoy the time off and let myself be with just not knowing for this short time. Imagine if I had spent each day meditating when I first woke up instead of worrying!
With decades of retirement in front of me, here are the items that did not make the cut for the first year's agenda:
While it's possible there is another dog in my future, I must admit that the last two years have been a lot easier in many ways without a dog. I loved having Murphy the Very Bad Beagle for those 14 years, but I sure don't miss the guilt and hassle associated with leaving her when we went on vacation. It was always hard imposing on friends and family to take care of her, and we never could bring ourselves to board her at a kennel. That's a lot of Karma points I owe to other dog-owner-friends in my future to pay back all the kindness of those saintly people that stayed with our Murphy over those 14 years.
There are many organizations I can see myself donating my time to, most notably one of the local animal shelters (the biggest problem here is being able NOT to do non-resolution #1. If I am exposed to all those homeless doggies, I'm not sure I could resist bringing one home immediately!) Another (retired) blogger (Boomer Baby--On Retirement) polled her other retired friends for their thoughts and advice on retirement. One retiree advised:
Don't volunteer for at least one year. Give yourself time to do the things you've been putting off since retirement.
I think this is good advice for me a) so I don't just wind up jumping from one job (the current one that pays me money) to another (that doesn't), b) so I take the time (at my new slower pace) to decide which volunteer opportunity appeals to me most, and c) to follow the advice of another On Retirement contributor:
Give yourself 18 months to decompress -- then start planning for the rest of your life!
3. Get a "fun" (read low-paying) job
After "decompressing" from my 22-year career in finance, I do think my retirement path will lead me to many new interests, some of which may lead to a new job. This time around though, it would just be to do something I'm really excited about, and I think it may take some time to know what that would be. So just as with the volunteer job, I would rather take the time to see where things lead and what opportunities arise. (Perhaps it will even be a "paid volunteer" job as described in this NY Times article, a growing trend?)
4. Take classes/learn something new
There are a million things I would love to learn, more Spanish, Italian, and French, and improve my knitting, sewing and cooking skills. There are many subjects I didn't study in school that I would also like to learn about like psychology, religion, philosophy, maybe history. If I were to pursue a new career, I might have to take classes for that (and it could be any number of interests, interior design, sports physiology, nutrition, social welfare, or whatever a person would study that might want to open a doggy gym or doggy hotel). While I might take a class or two in the first year(s) of retirement, I've got time to narrow the list a bit as I discover more about who I am when I'm not a finance professional.
Now this is definitely something I want to spend more time doing in retirement, though not necessarily in the first year or two. Since we will be moving into our current vacation home for a few years (before we have to sell it to help finance the retirement), I want to spend time enjoying living the wine-country life for a few years before selling that house and embarking on other travels near and far. Also, it will be good to get a sense of how we are doing living on our new budget before we do a whole lot of travel as this is definitely a discretionary expense.
7. Lose weight
Isn't this resolution supposed to be on everyone's resolution list every year? The reason it wasn't on my original resolution list is that 13 days ago I weighed 4 pounds less (pre-Mexican vacation). If I were writing the list today, another resolution would have to be to lose 4 pounds!
See, it's a good thing I'm only 44 years old so I have plenty of time to get to them all!