Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Do You Deserve an "F" in Retirement?

          I have failed to live up to the basic standards for retirement living.

          There is a well-marketed attitude that we should feel “less than” if we don’t pursue something productive every day….and yet, isn’t the definition of retirement exactly to feel okay about kicking back more often than not and enjoying the little things or the nothingness of a luxuriously loaming afternoon with a expansive blank agenda?

          Who sets these standards for us? “They” do, that’s who. You know, it’s the proverbial “they” that set the guidelines for a lot of what we say, do, buy, feel and express. I hate to admit it, but I am often gullible enough to accept what “they” say.  For example, I feel proud when described as “She’s busier now that she ever  was before retirement.” I wear this comment like a badge of creative and life-fulfilling honor. I’m no goof off, no slacker retiree who is relaxed, mellow and contented! Say what?????

          When people ask you how you are, do you respond rapid fire with a litany of all that you are doing in your busy weeks? A friend of mine would do this all the time but, once when I asked her again, more seriously, “Yeah, but how are you REALLY doing?” she’d almost burst into tears. She hadn't slowed down long enough to feel much of anything.

          Is your schedule always filled but your life isn’t fulfilling? Perhaps, like me, you’re buying into what “they” say we should be doing during retirement. To get a better handle on how my retirement is going I looked at the following seven benchmarks:

1)      Do I wake with enthusiasm, eager to enjoy what
             the day has to offer?

2)      Is there enough white space on my monthly calendar
             to make room for some serious goof-off time?

3)      Do I feel fulfilled for the most part with friendships
             and family fellowship?

4)      Do acquaintances feel I’m available for a spur-of-the-
             moment coffee date?

5)      Do I spend the majority of my time talking about positive
             things in life rather than the aches and pains, the
             weather or the economy?

6)      Do I feel like I'm living my  life based on what I want to
             do rather than what others expect me to be doing?

7)       At the end of the day, do I feel  okay about
              myself even if I don’t have something
              tangible to show for my day, like piles
              of clean laundry, pages of written text
              or a garden free of weeds?

          If I can answer “yes” to a majority of these, I’m on the right track in my retirement.  Hey, don’t get me wrong. I can feel like a real slug that has nothing to show for my time if I spend the entire day reading – even if it’s for research. I’m not always doing the best at retirement, but I keep trying to keep things in balance.
          I believe the best way to determine if you’re doing retirement right is to ask yourself if you are living a meaningful life. If the answer is “yes,” like it is for me most of the time, that’s all we can ask for. Like everything else, it’s a process.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

What If ... ?

          What would it be like if for one day, one 24-hour period, you only allowed goodness in your life? What if, during that day, every single situation, thought, conversation, and action was viewed by you as positive?

          What if when you were cut off in traffic you gave thanks for no accident or for it not slowing you down? What if it DID slow you down and you acknowledged it as a reminder to make more for time for travel or to slow down in general?

          What if you didn’t take personally any off-the-cuff or out-wardly snotty remark that a friend, family member or co-worker made thinking they were just being cute? What if, when you didn’t meet your deadline, you were able to acknowledge yourself for being diligent and trying hard to do so, instead of kicking yourself and letting it ruin your day?

          What if for just one day, the goodness and abundance of life filled you to overflowing? How might your life be changed?

          It’s a choice, you know….this being upbeat versus letting things get to you and being pissy as a result. It’s a choice we make a thousand times a day.

          So you think, “Hey, that sounds good, now how do I start?” You can start anytime and anywhere. Start where you are; goodness will meet you there. Stay in gratitude for everything. Being in that place will change your perspective and uplift every outcome. A consciousness of all that is available to you will send multiples of goodness your way.

          Stop complaining about your life and make the most of all that you have. Stop comparing yourself to others who you think are happier because they have more, do more, or are more. Your happiness won't come marching into your life unless you open the door and let it in.

          What if … what if you made a different choice just for today and met your joy in the process?