Life After Work
So, that magical day has finally come. You have retired (or made a break from the rat-race by making your own livable income.) What next? You sure have a lot of time on your hands. Make no mistake about it, for some people, this can be a confusing time. While many of us have a pretty good idea of what we’d do if we didn’t have to work, there are just as many (if not more) who would look at all that free time and get more than a bit scared. When a person’s routine is shattered and there is nothing but a blank slate in front of them, things aren’t often clear. For those who are a bit perplexed as to what to do next, here is a nice list of possibilities. And remember: not everyone should retire.
Some people just need the routine.
One of the most important things about the workforce to remember is that we are working for pay. What would happen if money were not an issue and you were working simply to help others? It becomes immensely gratifying and rewarding when you are giving to others or working for a cause that you care about without counting your pennies and hoping for a 2% raise. Now, the work is all about the difference you can make in the world. And whatever you believe strongly in, you can make an impact without worrying about what’s in it for you. The flexibility is endless. And, think about it this way: how do people who work 50 hours per week have enough time to volunteer anyway? You don’t have to feel bad for not doing it earlier. After all, who had the time?
I’m a bit partial to this one, as I am a writer (blogger, technically.) But I believe that most people who aren’t short a few coconuts have something to say. If you feel that you have something important to contribute; an idea, a story, or an opinion, why not get your voice out there? Writing is a great way to release tension, get what is on your mind “out on paper” and can be a great de-stressor. I will often write in order to sort out various ideas and thoughts that are on my mind in a place where I can reference them later. Ideas for this website come to me multiple times per day (I have so many that I could never write about all of them in full – it would literally take years.) I am also a part-time calligrapher, so there must really be something to this medium, at least for me. Remember: the pen is mightier than the sword. Make a difference in this world by writing about what you believe in.
Going to school is something many of us do (especially young adults) in order to further our careers. In fact, it’s very difficult to enter the rat-race these days without a college degree! But what would happen if we went to school to just learn, instead of to help us further our careers? We could take classes in subjects we were interested in, or wanted to explore further, without fear of bad grades or the end result (how it affects our future careers.) This takes the “selfishness” aspect out of learning and helps us encompass and embrace a greater potential. And who knows? You might find yourself so fascinated with a subject that you may explore a career in a new field simply because you love it! Don’t be afraid to take some classes at a university or college, but also explore taking lessons like in yoga, karate, dance, sailing, golf or hunting. This brings me to my next topic:
Has working a rat-race job for years turned you into a blob of jello? Quite possibly, unless you have a strict workout routine and get up early each day, keeping fit in this society of sloth is pretty difficult. It may not be a bad idea to start a new routine of keeping active, and that can be as simple as taking a walk in the morning, or as difficult as training for a marathon. The choice is yours! Think of what a great inspiration you can be to your employed friends who have to sit in rush-hour traffic in the morning while you jog along a misty, mountain road. Of course, this is only possible if there is a misty, mountain road near where you live, but still, the point stands. And you’ll probably live three to ten years longer than you would have if you remain inactive.
Spend Time With Family
Think about this: All those hours you spent hanging out with your co-workers and your boss with whom you shared a mutual relationship of cold contempt instead of people you really care about can never return. And no matter how much money you make or how many stocks you own, you can’t take any of it with you when you die. There are more important things in life than making money. In your new-found extra time you can see your kids (if you have them), your parents, your friends, and see them for longer periods of time. Maybe you can help them around the house and make their lives easier in the process. Or take them on vacation…
This is probably the most frequently-cited answer to the question, “What would you do if you won the lottery?” Traveling extensively can be expensive, however. Make sure that this falls within your budget. Just because you don’t have to work doesn’t mean you can’t still overspend. You can also make a game of it. Try to visit 100 countries in a year (ok, that’s REALLY hard) or explore a place that are less touristy, like Lesotho or Malta. Travel with people you care about (see: family) or do peace corps (see: volunteer) and go by bike (see: exercise.)
Isn’t it great how you can combine these? 🙂
Whatever you decide to do, when you don’t have to think about where your next paycheck is coming from, and you don’t have to wake up at the same time every day, and spend half your waking hours in an office, a whole new world (apologies to Disney) can open up to you. It’s called life. Ain’t it grand?
It’s All in the Writing: Make a Professional Impression With a Few Choice WordsFebruary 5th, 2013
Disappearing Act: How To Make Yourself Less Available at WorkJanuary 28th, 2013
How to Set Up an Effective Home OfficeJanuary 22nd, 2013
The Greatest Predictor of SuccessJune 1st, 2010
How to Stop Compulsive Web SurfingApril 27th, 2010