Monday, February 23, 2015

How to Live at a Slower Pace in Retirement

By Dave Bernard | U.S.News & World Report – Fri, Feb 13, 2015 

Crossing the threshold into retirement is an exciting time. After years of doing all the right things to pave the way, you finally arrive. It is a time for congratulations and new beginnings.
You probably want to do so many things that you may not know exactly where to start. New retirees often don't want to waste a single moment. It won't take long to realize you cannot sustain such a level of activity. And, more importantly, maintaining a hectic pace is not the best way to make the most of retirement.
If your career was anything like mine, you found yourself indoctrinated into a lifestyle that encourages perpetual productivity and punishes any hint of wasting time. Efficient employees often need to make the most of every precious moment in order to get everything done. When it comes to how we spend our retirement, the rules change. And best of all, this time around you get to write those rules.
Take a break. In retirement, you have the luxury to decide what you consider a waste of time. Just because you are not doing something productive does not mean you are throwing valuable free time away. Instead, taking a break may be the ideal way to spend time at that particular moment. After years of racing the clock to get things done, doing nothing may be exactly what you want to and should be doing.
Reset your pace. An important aspect of a satisfying retirement is learning to live each day at a pace that suits you best. That pace may change from day to day. One morning you may be full of energy and ready to take on the world, while the next day nothing sounds better than spending an extra hour in bed. These are both legitimate choices when you are retired. The key is to find youroptimal level of activity and go with it. Find a balance between activity and downtime that keeps your life interesting, but doesn't wear you out. No one other than you is keeping track of what you do or don't do over the course of the day. This freedom to do as you please is a luxury those who are not yet retired only dream of.
Do what works for you. If you are a morning person you may be most productive first thing. Get done whatever chores you may have while your energy is at its peak. Once you have paid your dues, the rest of the day is yours to spend as you choose. Or you may prefer to sleep in or start at a more leisurely speed. Now that you are retired you can do that. Have a relaxing cup of coffee while browsing the latest news or playing a little Sudoku. Let your natural body rhythms kick into gear at their natural speed. When you are good and ready, engage yourself in whatever deserves your attention and piques your interest. Do what you want, when you want for as long as you want.

Don't feel guilty. You no longer have to live up to the expectations of anyone other than yourself and maybe your partner. Make the most of your freedom to explore and try new things as well as the flexibility to do nothing. As long as you do what you enjoy, you are on the right track. It is no easyjourney getting to retirement, so take advantage of your well-deserved ability to live your second act at precisely the pace that best suits you.