Nearly every person in the working world is guilty of daydreaming about when "time is my own" and "I can do what I want," but even making time for things most loved can be a challenge if it isn't planned. During professional years, it is easy to imagine the joy of tossing that day planner through the window and running to the garden or the golf course, but scheduling can keep retirement time more rich and rewarding. A good daily routine makes time for rest, purpose, and pleasure.
Like many retirees, I wanted to give time to community causes I cared about, but because of health issues affecting mobility early in my retirement, I could not be out and about as much as I liked. That did not keep me from writing and doing mailings for the local food bank, making calls and working out schedules for Meals on Wheels, or giving donations to Toys for Tots. I had been active with these programs through my career, and I planned blocks of time to give my service to them, even when I could not leave home, and it made a difference. After four years, I run out of day long before all there is to do.
Schedule time for fun and staying connected. Call that friend you always want to spend more time with, and make the meeting! Instead of just making small talk, bring a memento or a photo of the two of you (or more) to become a touchstone and bring you back to cherished memories and what keeps you close. I have brought beloved vinyl records, crafts, and even cooking dishes that have sparked conversations that still resonate with friends far deeper than Christmas card details. If you have a regular date with a garden club, book club, or just a coffee klatch, those "appointments" give you a daily dose of meaningful moments that are priceless. I make a point every week to send birthday cards, letters, or messages to friends far away in distance, but never in heart. Don't depend on time for these things to just appear--plan for it! These remembrances really make a difference to you and the ones you remember! Plan a day of the week to make a special meal or share a favorite pastime with your spouse or a friend. You'll be surprised how they will start looking forward to it!
As my body faces more physical challenges, I have come to know the value of, and necessity for regular rest. There are afternoon periods daily now , during which I make myself unavailable, and simply allow rest. I did not realize until after I retired that I had been in sleep and rest deprivation for probably 20 years. Now it is part of my day.
Whether it's a good nap, helping out at a shelter, a nice chat with a neighbor on a neighborhood walk, or finally watching that TV series marathon you have been yearning to see, setting it on your schedule makes probably become reality.
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