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Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Challenge of Doing Nothing

Though most of our history, retirement was synonymous with idleness.  The reproach to retirement made a lot of sense to people of previous generations.   There work was often physical and grueling and the pay quite low,  allowing little opportunity for retirement savings.  So so when there careers are over, they may have had little energy or money for much more than relaxation.

Many features of the traditional scenario have changed.  Widespread automation  has made work a lot less physically demanding for most people.  Advances in health care are keeping people fitter and active through there retirement years.  The development of pension plans as an enhancement of Social Security has given them the where with all to undertake a wide variety of retirement activities.
These people are raring to go, yet the antiquated notion of retirement as laziness presists.

Doing nothing all day long is perhaps the greatest challenge--and the greatest danger--faced in retirement.  It is difficult to be idle for lengthy periods without feeling antsy--even isolated or abandoned in more serious cases.  People are social creatures who need to contribute to human endeavor throughout their lives. Thats one of the ways that we valitdate our own worth.

Yes you can lounge around all day if you choose,  and yet can sleep in as long as you want, but chances are that this approach to retirement will get stale pretty quickly.   A better plan might be to think of retirement as an opportunity to create your own daily daily schedule, focusing on those activities that bring you the most satisfaction.

When you ask retirees why they are doing what they are doing at a given moment. all to often the response is: "I'm just killing time."  Your time is to precious to kill. Enrich time.  Ennoble it.  Enjoy it.  it may be a challenge to use your time effectively, but that's insignificant compare to the challenge of doing nothing.

Material of this comes from "The Don't Sweat Guide to Retirement  ISBN 0-7868-9055-x The Author is Richard Carlson, Ph.D

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