As we look toward or enter retirement, our expected life span gives us the possibility of another about 20 years once we reach 65 years of age. Most of us have fairly good health, or are able to manage what health issues we have with various medical and nutritional advances . Whether we think of ourselves as moving into these years with negativity and fear, or as entering a potentially satisfying and energizing time of life has a huge impact on how the coming years will unfold.
When ending a full time job, we may have joyful thoughts of just settling in and relaxing. We will do as much or as little as we choose and take it easy. That does sound great….for awhile. We may look forward to doing the things we never had time to do while working full time – spending time with family and friends, traveling, reading the stack of books that have continued to accumulate, engaging in our favorite hobbies extensively.
We may settle into a comfort zone – a place or situation where one feels safe or at ease and without stress. Comfort zones can quite easily slip into ruts – repeated life patterns and habits that are worn deep and guide us almost automatically through days, weeks and months. I can speak from experience that what once was new and intentional can slip to a pattern of activity that is automatic. Ruts aren’t necessarily bad, but they warrant examination and our conscious choice to stay in them or change or get out of them.
How do you determine if you are in ruts and whether they are in your best interest? Are they ones you chose at one time, or have they been imposed by family, friends, social expectations, etc.? And if they were imposed, do you still choose to be there? These are all questions that can be enlightening when asked by you about your life as you move into this new landscape of life.
It can take just some reflection on what is totally predictable about your life – like daily routines, interactions/commitments with others, and choices of how to spend time and money. Identify which of them you value and wish to continue and which you want to change or abandon.