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What Gets You Up In The Morning?

I recently ran into a former colleague who told me that she had retired from the job at which she and I had worked together.  She "hated, absolutely hated" retirement so went back to work doing virtually the same thing, but at a different organization.  Although I can't say for sure, I wonder if her "absolute hatred" stemmed partly from a lack of planning.  Not that I am blaming her - many people plan for the financial aspects of retirement, and there are a multitude of resources to help with that.  There is MUCH less information on planning ahead for the non-financial aspects of retirement.

As we think about this next time in our lives, we may have several questions to answer:
  • How do we want to live?
  • How do we want to use our accumulated wisdom and life experience?
  • How do we design lives that give us meaning?
  • How do we want to contribute to society?
One way to begin to answer these questions is to think about, and WRITE DOWN, the answers to the question "What gets me up in the morning?"  The answers may give you some insight into what you should continue to do after you retire.  For example, one answer for me is that I love to grow (and then eat, of course!) vegetables.  Therefore, after I am not working full-time, I should think about how I want gardening to be a part of my life.  Do I want an even larger garden?  Do more with herbs or flowers?  Grow some produce to donate to food pantries?  Help a local non-profit start a community garden?  Peddle my vegetables at a farmers' market?

Another example - if you answered " work" to "what gets me up..." and that answer is not based on "because I have to" but because you love working, you may be a person who works as long as you are able, whether that is full-time or part-time.  Will you work at your current job, same type of profession but different organization, work in a different field, turn a hobby into a job?

Americans are living longer and people 50 and older (yep, I'm one) are healthier than any previous generation, adding vital years to our lives.  We need to start thinking now about what we want those lives to be.

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