2020 – my year of retirement transition – was going to be a journey to enlightenment I thought.
At some point during the year’s 366 days I hoped I would crack the code of retirement, the meaning of later life.
So with just 100 days to go of my Covid retirement year what have I learnt?
The rona has robbed me of many of the experiences I’d planned but in its place I’ve had plenty of time to reflect.
Balance, I’ve decided – that’s what it’s all about. Not just retirement but all of human life.
After all the main thing that defines retirement, the only thing that makes it different to the rest of life is the absence of work.
The Cambridge English Dictionary definition of retirement is: the act of leaving your job and stopping working, usually because you are old.
What retirement brings is the ability to choose how you spend your life without work consuming everything.
On that subject, I’ve learnt, for example, that I quite like some aspects of work. I’m happy that I’ve still got a business to run and am looking at other ways of giving myself a purpose that pays a wage.
I’ve also discovered the truth that you CAN have too much of a good thing.
By way of example I think of Britain’s climate. I make the most and appreciate every sunny day I have at home but if every day were sunny I know that eventually I’d take it for granted.
Truth is I wouldn’t want the sun to shine every day and, for that reason, I love Britain’s autumn and winter, just wish it didn’t last so long.
I like to travel but wouldn’t want to be away for more than a month at a time.
I love eating out but want simple and home cooked after a week or so.
I like relaxing at home but need to go out and run or work in the garden almost every day.
I imagine a chart – a bit like the one above – with separate bars for all the key parts of life such as work, relationships, travel.
You then need to slide the arrow along the bar to the point which gives you the best balance. You won’t get it right first time, it will take constant adjustment, repeated tinkering as life and your priorities change.
It’s not just about time – hours, days, weeks – it’s about quality too. The secret of the ideal life balance is about getting all the elements that contribute to a happy and useful life in perfect alignment.
That’s where I’m at after 266 days of Covid retirement reflection.
I’m going to develop these ideas further in future blogs.