Use the Pandemic as a Test Drive for Retirement
| Paul Fain
Unless you are an essential worker, you have probably spent most of the last three months sheltering in place at home during the COVID pandemic.
If you are a sales or client service worker, or consultant, or computer-based worker, or the like, it was probably fairly simple (if not routine) to work remotely via telephone, video conferencing, text and email messaging. Otherwise, you may have found yourself staring at your toes with a lot of free time. In other words, it may have been a preview of what retirement might look like for you.
This forced experience, being sequestered at home, might bring some clarity to your vision of retirement. For example, you might realize that you will prefer a gradual transition into retirement, such as, wading into part-time work before diving into total retirement. Other folks may realize that they want to retire all-in, with people to see and places to go!
Then as now, the big question is: “How will I spend my time?” Don’t just assume that simply not working equates to a fulfilling lifestyle. There is an old saying, “Retire to something – not just from something.”
Presumably, at retirement, you won’t spend (or be able to afford to spend) 365 days per year traveling, or golfing, or shopping. So what will a typical day in retirement look like? Go ahead and outline a satisfying day: It might start with morning coffee on the porch with a good book; followed by a walk or trip to the gym; some work in the garden; lunch with a friend; some volunteer hours at a local non-profit; and a stop by the grocery store to inventory the evening meal preparation. Add in a book club, a weekly hiking meet-up, and a movie night. Some structure to your retirement is a good thing!
Don’t forget to be intentional about your well care plan. Keep a calendar of appointments for the dentist and family doctor check-ups. Why not proactively construct a network of healthcare professionals in anticipation of needs? Eye care, hearing, heart, orthopedic care, etc.
In my humble opinion, regardless of age, when we stop learning and growing we begin declining: mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. During the quarantine, I have oddly enjoyed the discovery of many free and subscription-based opportunities to learn and grow: watching live streams of my church’s services, enrolling in online conferences and courses for personal and professional development, scheduling group Zoom calls with friends from coast-to-coast, watching guitar tutorials, listening to guided meditations, etc.
Retirement test drive over for today – now back to work, on my laptop, in the kitchen, with bare feet.
This article was originally published in the Knoxville News Sentinel on June 24th, 2020.