Pushing Your Limits in Retirement by Robin Trimingham
As a retirement lifestyle transition coach, I am frequently surprised by the number of people who don’t seem to recognize that retirement is a time when you can really stretch yourself by taking risks.
I am not talking about financial risks such as gambling or day trading (unless you have more money than you know what to do with). Nor am I talking about putting yourself in physical jeopardy.
I am talking about the idea of using your retirement to master new skills, conquer old fears or pursue life dreams that just seemed impractical or too complicated when you were working full time.
For some this might mean finally turning the spare room into a miniature train village complete with a general store, roundhouse, tunnels, railway crossing and mountainous background. For others, it might mean starting a coin operated laundromat in an urban neighbourhood where many people do not have laundry facilities at home. For still others, it might mean adopting a puppy for the very first time, or volunteering to give a speech at a charity event as a way of overcoming a fear of public speaking.
There an equal number of ways to push your limits in the health and wellness arena as well, including: experimenting with combinations of ingredients to make the most indulgent low sugar brownies, training for an upcoming walking race to raise money for charity, challenging yourself to publicize your participation in the event to raise twice as much money as last year, or deciding to lose a little weight and get your asthma under control so that you are well enough to take your grandchild to Disney World.
The sort of risk taking goals I am referring to are deeply personal endeavors that have seemed so daunting to you in the past that even now you can only consider undertaking them by reducing their size and complexity to a long series of small steps – the accomplishment of some of which might be grounds for mini-celebrations themselves.
These are not necessarily activities that will bring you great notoriety or wealth (although I understand that the guy with the laundromat does quite well). They are simply tasks that stimulate your mind, inspire creativity, activate your sense of wonder, bolster your self-confidence, or build your sense of independence.
Retirement as they say “is not for sissies”. It is however a great time to clean your emotional dustbins, unclutter your mind and make space for new ideas, big dreams, and grand plans. Will everything turn out as you hope, just when you want it to? Probably not – but that might even be the best part.
In retirement, you have the luxury of available time, the patience to be persistent in the face of obstacles, and the wisdom to be proud of a less than perfect result. Like that slightly lopsided wedding cake everyone dreads – it only looks bad until you take the first bite, but the experience of learning to do it yourself will give you memories to last a lifetime.
By Robin Trimingham