1. Hi Christie – I think that where you’re coming from is similar to what my husband suggested I do – which was to drill down to my core values – the things that are important to my heart and who I am – and then to base my decisions on those qualities. It really helped me figure out how to approach a retirement that was sudden and unexpected. Every time I questioned “what next?” etc I’d ask myself “does this fit with my core values?” and if it didn’t, I’d know to toss it and keep moving in the direction that felt more in tune with them.
    Retirement is so different for all of us, and it took me a year or so to stop justifying why I want to take mine more gently than other do – it’s been a process of recovery and then discovery for me, and I still haven’t figured it all out yet, but I’m really happy (and unstressed) – and that’s what matters the most to me right now.

    • Yes, I can see a similarity in the approach, Leanne. Isn’t it wonderful to have loved ones with whom we can talk these things through? I have also benefitted from reading about your journey and your insights. It’s so important that we are true to ourselves and do the things that speak to our hearts. I love the phrase “process of recovery and discovery.” I’m glad you are finding your way and feeling happy and at ease.

  2. Retirement for me has definitely been about discovering and defining what makes me happy. For instance I thought I wanted to travel and I do, but not so much because I like to see the world but rather because trying/seeing/experiencing new things lifts the spirit. Realising that has meant that I don’t always have to leave the house to get the same return as from a long haul destination. That “why” is so important, as are the core values Leanne refers to.

    • That’s beautiful, Caree. To discover what it is about something (in this case travel) that you love expands the possibilities. When something like COVID comes along, and suddenly travel isn’t possible, you have other options. The “why” is where the magic resides.

  3. I like the whole mindset of re-asking the retirement question–from “what do I want to do” to “how do I want to feel.”
    I’ve been semi-retired for a dozen years now, and I seem to have answered both questions the same way: I wanted to continue to do what I loved doing when I worked full time and I wanted to continue to feel that burst of creative energy and good vibe from either writing my own stories or editing someone else’s. It has been tremendously rewarding and “feel good” to stay busy that way — and without the nerve-wrack of too many deadlines.

    • It sounds like you’ve found the perfect balance for you and have a clear understanding of your why. I definitely want to hang on to that creative burst of energy without the pressures or rigidity of a 9-5 job. One of the joys of thinking about these things before I reach retirement is I can analyze the parts of my job that I truly love and figure out why, then how I can continue with that feeling into retirement.

  4. Hi, Christie – I wholeheartedly agree with switching up our questions and asking ‘Why?’ and “How do I want to feel?” in regards to big decision making. I had little idea of what I wanted to do in retirement. But I did know clearly why I wanted to retire (it was a pull-factor rather than a push-factor). For me, this helped set me up for a rewarding retirement.
    Thakn you for sharing this.

    • That’s great Donna. I’m in a similar situation. I deeply appreciate the fact that I have options for working and retirement and the opportunity to plan ahead…not just financially, but mentally and emotionally for this next phase of life. The thing I love about understanding what you want to get out of actions is that when life throws you a curveball, like COVID for example, and you can’t do the activities you had planned, you have more flexibility, more options for reaching that feeling or state of mind you seek.

  5. Years ago I remember taking a class on stress management and knowing your *why* was key to moving forward in your life. Not letting things get to you because you had a deeper purpose. If I had to answer that question today, I’d say my *why* is to learn about + enjoy new things. If that happens, then I’ve accomplished my goal.

    • That’s so interesting, Ally. I hadn’t thought of knowing your why as a stress management tool, but I can see how it is. And what a great “why” you have. Learning and enjoying new things encompasses so many possibilities and allows room for things to not turn out as you expected, because you are still learning, and so you are, as you said, accomplishing your goal.

  6. I like the alternative question and found it easy because my 4 key words are: active, connected, creative, and contemplative. These are both feeling and doing words, for me. It took me time to go through all the “what should I do” things to settle on these words, but they do define the life I want to live, the me I want to be.

  7. Your daughter sounds like she asks good questions. Very wise! I believe asking the right question is half the battle when you are trying to make a difficult decision. I am enjoying doing a lot of nothing during my retirement! 🙂 Maybe at some point, I will need something more, but for now, I am reluctant to make any commitments.

    • She is wise indeed, Laurie. I can see my first year of retirement being free of any long-term commitments. I’ve worked hard my whole life and look forward to some R&R.

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