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Ten Things To Do Right After You Retire

Ten Things To Do Right After You Retire

If you are like us, you probably retired without any real mental preparation or clear expectation. Then, one day, your career was really over. What to do—and not do—in the first few months?

Here are our top ten ideas:

  1. Do sleep late. If you worked like we did, you are tired. More than you realize.

  2. Do something during the day that would have been unimaginable while you worked. A matinee. A three hour lunch followed by a nap. An afternoon boat trip. Enjoy the wonderful feeling that you are playing hooky. Prepare to be astonished at the number of people who seem to do this regularly.

  3. Do visit children or friends. This may be difficult, as they may be too busy to spend time with you, and terrified that you are about to attach yourself to them like a limpet for the rest of their lives. But if you make it clear you are just making up for all of the times you canceled while you worked, and that you will soon again be too busy to see them, you might enjoy yourself. They might too.

  4. Do binge watch some crazy shows that you never had time to watch at all before. This idea is related to number 1. You can sleep late.

  5. Do read a book. Or two. While sipping something lovely.

  6. Do think about what you have always wanted to learn, and find out where you might be able to learn it. One of us learned to fly. One of us learned design. You might be interested in astrophysics, or pizza making, or ballet. Check it out. In a relaxed way.

  7. Do go on a trip. Maybe not around the world, though that would be fun, but somewhere different, maybe for a long weekend.

  8. Do get back in shape. At least make a start.

  9. Do not make any long term decisions. You are not ready yet.

  10. Do not agree to babysit/clean up/tutor/volunteer/etc. You are not ready yet.

These ideas should take you through three to six months. No rush.

After this phase—the recharge phase—you will be ready for the next steps. Those involve thinking about what you want to do for the next thirty years. We’ll talk about how to do that soon. But don’t worry about the vast future until you get through the first few months. You will restore yourself physically, you will grieve over the loss of your job and your identity, you will wonder how you can survive without the structures you have lived with for so long—and then you will start to see there is a big world out there just waiting for you. You will come to understand that your career was just a stepping stone to the next purposeful activity. But you need to give it some time.

And since you need to give yourself some time, have fun being footloose and fancy free. It won’t last!

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