Throughout our long and illustrious careers, many baby boomers have looked forward to retirement the same way a child looks forward to Christmas. Retirement became a long sought after event that would one day eventually happen, and change our lives. The notion is wrong.
Retirement will in fact change your life – there’s no doubt about that – but it isn’t an event. Retirement is a process, an evolution, and just like a fine and rare wine, it will get better with age.
Retirement isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of process either. It’s different for everybody. Indeed, retirement is what you make it. Your retirement is uniquely yours, and will not only depend on how you’ve planned for it – only up to a point – but how you live each and every day of it, as well.
We all know that many baby boomers have had their retirement savings and investment portfolios trashed by the economy. So what. That’s only one part of your retirement – a big part, mind you, but not the only part and frankly, not necessarily the most important part. There’s a lot more to retirement that the money you have in the bank.
Probably the best way to think about retirement is to envision it as a big block of time. Maybe a better analogy is to think of your retirement as a big pile of lumber, the kind you see on a job site, sitting next to a house that someone is building. Each piece of timber in that pile represents a day that you get to spend in retirement. The only caveat of course is that you can only spend each day one time.
As you look at that pile of lumber – and yes, it is a finite pile because your days are indeed numbered – you must now decide what you’re going to do with it. You can spend each one of those numbered days worrying, obsessing and stressing about how un-ready you are to retire because of everything that has gone wrong in the past couple of years, or you can choose and demand that you thoroughly enjoy each and every one.
Just like the builder who is creating a house out of that seemingly innocuous pile of wood, you too can create whatever it is you want to create out of your pile of lumber – the days you have remaining – as well.
What’s really important to remember is that retirement is a series of days, all strung together. It is the collective experience of those days that actually defines your “Golden Years.” So if today wasn’t all that good of a day, just remember to make tomorrow a little better.
Also, like everything else, your retirement will always be changing. As you get more comfortable with the role of “being retired” how you spend your time – and how you feel after you spend it – will change as well. You’ll learn that this time in your life is about you and want you want to do. Take advantage of it. Make every one of those days count.
Tags: Baby Boomer Retirement