“LIVING THE EASY LIFE”

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So many people are waiting for that magic day when responsibilities and stress associated with daily living end and are replaced with freedoms of choice and time to live a CHOSEN LIFESTYLE. Some call this RETIREMENT. Some call this BOREDOM!

RETIREMENT sounds a whole lot better than BOREDOM, but approximately 55% of those who retire begin regretting their decision within the first year. How could “living the easy life” without time restraints and financial concerns create even greater stress and anxiety than pre-retirement living?

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I retired two years ago when I was 55 years old. People thought I was making a mistake. They kept repeating, “you’re too young to retire.” What people didn’t realize was I started PLANNING my retirement the day I turned 50.

I am a big believer in using the gifts I was blessed with. Some of these gifts include:

  • 2 good eyes to see with

  • 2 good ears to listen with

  • 1 good brain to analyze with

As a relatively young physician treating patients of varying ages, I had the opportunity to watch, listen and think about their stories and their experiences. I watched many people over the years retire only to become further disenchanted with life. They reached a point where they could “unload” their daily weight of frustration, anger, resentment and anxiety only to realize they were left with NOTHING but TIME.

In my articles on health and balanced lifestyles, I typically include a very important phrase. It’s called a PLAN OF ACTION. This plan often needs tweaking over time, but creates a guideline to help successfully achieve goals. Sometimes, a major overhaul may be required, but the object is to develop a PLAN OF ACTION from an idea to create a path to follow, rather than haphazardly “trying things” hoping and wishing something works. My experience with patients has proven that hoping and wishing doesn’t achieve much success.

So, why doesn’t retirement (for at least 55% of the people) result in “living the easy life?” It is my opinion that retirement isn’t a “LIFE” at all; it is simply a period in time where daily regimentation dictated by life’s responsibilities change. These”patterns of behavior” no longer occupy 8, 10, or even 12 hours a day. Our wish for MORE TIME is finally GRANTED. We now have time for golf and travel; two of the most commonly perceived desires in retirement.  These activities, however, do not replace the 8-12 additional hours of TIME we’re now “blessed” with since leaving our jobs. Some choose volunteer work as a solution to this TIME “PROBLEM”. When volunteer work also leaves a large “chunk of time” available, we begin seeking ANYTHING that takes TIME “off the clock.” We begin to realize our need for TIME (which RETIREMENT provides) wasn’t the “missing piece of the puzzle” producing the retirement we envisioned after all. Even worse, ATTITUDES about our over abundance of TIME now begins to cause boredom and resentment!

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NOT ONLY DOES RETIREMENT BECOME VIEWED AS AN UNDESIRABLELIFE OF LEISURE”, IT ADDS THE BURDEN OF FINDING “THINGS TO DO” TO “REMOVE HOURS FROM THE CLOCK!”

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This certainly doesn’t sound like an appealing way to spend one’s “GOLDEN YEARS“!!

Fortunately, this is NOT the ultimate path we necessarily face. There are alternative approaches that can bring great joy, happiness and fulfillment to our lives, but, (believe it or not) it requires:

WORK!

(That word we FALSELY assumed retirement replaced!)

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At age 50, I began formulating a PLAN OF ACTION by creating a “FILL IN THE BLANK” questionnaire that included the following:

  1. what are MEANINGFUL activities to me?

  2. do these activities satisfy a meaningful PURPOSE (even if the purpose is simply fun?)

  3. do (at least) one or more of these activities satisfy a personal PASSION?

  4. if my physical or mental life altered, would I be able to adapt and continue to ENJOY my life? HOW? What RESOURCES would I turn to for assistance?

By creating a PLAN OF ACTION prior to committing oneself to MAJOR lifestyle changes, the transition becomes easier and reduces the FEAR and STRESS of UNKNOWN CHANGE!

Many people live an entire life without answering the FOUR questions listed above. Their lives have been so regimented for so many years, RETIREMENT comes and produces desired TIME without providing the qualitative SUBSTANCE used to fill this time to satisfy LONG TERM PERSONAL HUMAN NEEDS!

DARE TO BE DIFFERENT!

Regardless of age, consider the 4 questions above to see if you have answers that satisfy your personal needs. Creating a PLAN OF ACTION has given me a REAL OPPORTUNITY to look forward EVERY MORNING to getting out of bed (reasonably early) EXCITED to begin my day. I hope this post gives each of you a chance to self reflect and determine if you’re heading in the right direction; a direction that will provide you the kind of joy and happiness in life you seek.

LIVING THE EASY LIFE” requires DEDICATION and WORK! The big difference is, it’s work you CHOOSE to undertake! Retirement also provides a chance to realize and appreciate just how fortunate we are to experience the TRUE BLESSINGS of LIFE!

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VERSUS

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 THE TIME AND WORK/EFFORT YOU INVEST IN YOURSELF DETERMINES THE LIFE YOU WILL LIVE?

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15 comments

  1. I was raised in a household where the word retirement was never mentioned and I am so very grateful for that. As long as one was alive we were supposed to be contributing to society in one form or another. Being active in the community, volunteering, sure surpass sitting in front of the tube, idle time, wasted life. My father believed he will have plenty time to retire when he is dead. He sure was right. He lead an active life till the age of 97. You are so very right that we need a plan of action. We retire from one aspect of life to embark to another task in the hope that we will find fulfillment. Leisure time can be incorporated in daily living and activities without being the only type of living. Doing what I love for me is living the easy life.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The last line is so perfectly said. I love the work I do and the interests I have, so for me, retirement would mean continuing to incorporate those things. I once read research that indicated people who continue to remain active via work/hobbies during retirement live longer. That’s a powerful testament to fulfillment in life.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. So very true, people who continue to remain active live longer💛

        Liked by 2 people

    2. So very well stated. Many associate the word “RETIREMENT” with the ability to do NOTHING. At first glance this may seem enjoyable, but the novelty wears off quickly without meaningful purpose/activities. Giving people a “heads up” on this topic may prevent some people from becoming disillusioned with a time in life that offers so many possibilities.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love that you emphasize planning as key to a fulfilling retirement. This crossroad reminds me of parents of older children who realize they have not identified meaningful interests, yet are left with much more free time.

    I’ve met with parents who become jaded and question their self-worth because so much was wrapped up into caring for their children. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with investing in our children, but God has given each of us gifts to pursue and share, including parents and those who are retired.

    Thanks for giving us these reflective questions so that we can prepare for the changes that inevitably come!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for sharing your story and perspective on the subject. So many times we simply need a little “push” to start a NEW momentum in life to help us achieve our potential.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t know why people who come home from work and sit in front of the television all night expect that they will suddenly start doing things once they retire. I think I could retire today, and I have so many interests that I would still wonder where people find the time to watch all that television (and I would probably still wish for more time in every day!).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yours is a “problem” I wish on you FOREVER! Your ATTITUDE is likely to help you maximize your quality of life TODAY as well as TOMORROW.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post….I retired when I was 55 also….never looked back once….have been enjoying life to the fullest almost everyday….xxkat

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Welcome to the CLUB!!!

      Like

      1. I am lovin it….everyday is Sunday Club!!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Since I am self employed and have oh my so many passions and stuffs I do even looking for time to do others, I am hoping that if I ever retire it should mean having time to do those I haven’t really been able to do because of say raising the kids and co. Now am gonna work on my plan of action following your four poignant points. Thanks once more Doc

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Always a pleasure.
      So many people wait until they age before they consider what they want to do with their TIME. Time is FINITE; we can’t afford to wait and spend countless hours wondering instead of LIVING!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Sandhya · · Reply

    I absolutely loved this article. Plan of Action with the 4 questions is a necessity for sure.
    Very self reflective and thought provoking! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sometimes we get so caught up in our own lives, an outside perspective provides an unbiased source of information to add to our “arsenal.”

      I’m so glad you found this information beneficial.

      Liked by 1 person

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