If the most fun you ever had was work-related, you’ve probably been dreading retirement. I sure did.
While a lot of blog posts to this site were my outrage and fury at the way legal and medical professionals run roughshod over seniors — an equal number of posts showed my terror at what the hell I would do with my time that was half as much fun as I had at work.
So… I thought you might like an update from the frontlines — from someone who’s now been retired for almost two years. What I’m doing turns out to be what I was doing before — working. In fact, I’m working longer hours than I did before. I just don’t have a boss, I work when I want to (which is a lot), and — thus far — I’m not getting paid(!)
We make choices about what we will do when we’re earning a living. We choose to do this over that — because we know we likely can’t earn enough to live on if we choose “that.” I’ve made those choices. You probably have to.
Examples for me include choosing not to pursue: fiction writing, acting, dancing, languages, jewelry design, and graphic design. I knew my chances of earning a good living were slim in all of them. You may have turned away from some of these too — and perhaps others.
The wonderful thing about “retirement” is you can make different choices.
If you’re not a Type A, you can develop hobbies from activities that interested you — but never had the time for previously. If you are a Type A? You can launch a new business for one or more of those left-behind interests.
The only caveat is you can’t spend money in the launch that you need for retirement peace of mind. Do not do it! Don’t tell yourself the business will earn it back. It might — but it might not. You don’t want the stress of worrying. The goal here is to HAVE FUN! It’s just that us Type A’s have a different idea of fun than many others(!)
Here’s how I came up with my current obsession:
1) I liked writing fiction when I was young. I wrote two novels that never saw the light of day (thank goodness!) Then I switched to non-fiction where I knew I could make money.
2) I also love wolves. I have every book ever written about them. I research them.
3) I love graphic design. When I launched Sportswoman magazine (in my 20s), designing the covers was a lot of fun.
4) Here’s a secret fantasy of mine from when I was a kid. You’re the first to know, because it’s a little embarrassing. While other kids wanted to be Superman or WonderWoman, I used to day dream about leading a little band of kids who lived in the clouds. We’d swoop down on earth and rescue people who needed our help. Equally important to the fantasy, we’d beat the crap out of those who were abusing others.
It’s fun to launch a new business!
Given the four items above, you can imagine how much fun I’m having now writing — and publishing — fiction about a woman werewolf. She turns into a real wolf, not some monster. And she’s all about rescuing those who need it — and beating the crap out of those who deserve it!
I’ve got four short stories published plus a novella. And my publishing schedule for 2022 is full — a new book, novella or story to be published every month. (I’m already set through June!)
It’s fun researching what my abilities would be like in wolf form. It’s fun researching how exactly I could get away with destroying evildoers — and not get caught by vigilante-hating authorities(!) It’s fun learning how to write better fiction. It’s fun designing covers. And it’s fun learning how to publish and market fiction books.
As you probably noted — the key word above is FUN!
If you — like me — have been totally puzzled by friends who are very happy just hanging out with grandkids… If you’ve been planning to stay in your job until you drop because you know you’d go crazy without the excitement of business… Now you know there’s another option.
Think of some wild, maybe impractical career you would have found fun — and consider giving it a go in your “retirement.” The ideal retirement is different for each person — we can each design our own. You can have a lot of fun embracing what works best for you.
PPS: Yes, I’m also seeing family, volunteering (with SCORE), playing sports, and even planning a move. But without the mental challenge of trying something hard — something I could fail at — life to me feels grayed out instead of multicolored.