PURPOSE IN RETIREMENT AND YOUR THREE CORE PURSUITS

Ageism Dapper Man
Purpose & Mission

HAVE A PURPOSE IN RETIREMENT

When I ask people what their thoughts are about retirement a common answer I get is “I don’t know what I’d do with myself self” or as one wife said to me “If he retires, one of us would be dead in 3 months”. We’ve spent the last 40 odd years buried in careers, parenthood, taking care of our parents, and grandparenthood. We haven’t had the time or desire to develop outside interests that we could carry over into our retirement. The result is we don’t have anything to occupy our minds and time when we retire. This can result in boredom, depression, and friction at home especially when we start injecting ourselves into things that have been running just fine without us.

When the topic of retirement planning comes up, most of the time it’s about financial planning. What is left out is planning how we are going to live in retirement and the attitude required. Retirement should not be approached as the end of something, but as the beginning of a new phase of life and that requires a shift in our mindset.

“Retire from work, but not from life”

M.K. Soni via Julia Cameron

3 CORE PURSUITS

In an Inc. Magazine article by @jeff-hayden https://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/10-surprisingly-attainable-traits-of-a-very-happy-retirement.html, he recommends having 3.5 core pursuits in retirement. You need 3.5 activities and interests that you can focus your attention on, things that you enjoy and you feel good doing.  As an example, my 3 core pursuits (I don’t do .5 of anything very well) are this blog, becoming president of our condo association and maximizing my fitness.

MY 3 CORE PURSUITS

  1. The blog is fun and challenging at the same time. I enjoy the research I have to do and I’m working hard to take my writing skills out of the Stone Age. There is also the tech education that goes along with it. Learning the software and all the mumbo-jumbo that goes along with it has been interesting.
  2. My experience as an executive in the construction industry had me being in charge of things. So when an opening of our condo board opened up I threw my hat into the ring. I did a bit of campaigning and at our last annual meeting was elected. I was told that all I had to do was to show up to the monthly meetings. But my nature wouldn’t let that happen. And now that I wiggled my way into being president of the condo association when there are projects going on like roofing, deck replacements, or tree trimming I’m knee-deep in them.
  3. I wrote in an earlier post about the importance of taking care of your body as you get older.https://yourextrainnings.com/taking-care-of-you-in-order-delay-your-retirement/ I’m committed to fitness and schedule the time to make it happen. I don’t walk every day but my goal is to reach a daily average of 7,500 steps. My January average was 7,488 which included a few days off with the flu, so I’m happy. I also do 3 to 4 days a week of strength training.

“Retirement is a time to experience a fulfilling life derived from many enjoyable and rewarding experiences”

Ernie J. Zelinski

THINK AHEAD

You need to be thinking ahead. Don’t enter or approach retirement without having at least a couple of your core pursuits figured out. Give yourself plenty of time. Is there anything you used to love to do but the years have caused you to abandon? I have a neighbor who has a Ph.D. in mathematics and had a solid career teaching. When he was a kid he learned to play the organ at a high level but he drifted away from it as he got older. Later in life, he re-fired his passion for playing music and today he has a great part-time retirement job as music director at our church.

Think back to when you were 13. Was there anything you loved to do? Did you have any hobbies you abandoned as life took over? Can they be converted to retirement pursuits?

Here are some examples:

  • Love basketball or softball? Does your local youth sports league need a scorekeeper?
  • Like nature walks? Look for a local hiking club to join. I have a neighbor who organizes senior-friendly local hikes.
  • Are you an avid reader? Local libraries can use volunteers.
  • If you’re into cars, maybe a part-time job at your local auto-parts store would be perfect.
Your Move

DON’T DRIFT INTO YOUR EXTRA INNINGS / BE INTENTIONAL

When people struggle with downshifting their careers into retirement, a big reason is the sudden lack of purpose. We daydream about the leisure life, sitting out on the deck with a coffee when others are driving to work. It sounds great and it is initially, but slowly, over time avoid starts to grow in your life. The sense of importance, of having a purpose is no longer there. Even though it felt like a burden, the drive to get out of bed in the morning to do your job is gone and could become a problem.

“The joy of retirement comes in those everyday pursuits that embrace the joys of life”

Byron Pulsiffer

If you’re like me, around 60 years old, we have on average another 20-30 years to go. I could have another quarter or more of my life in front of me. In order to live these years well, you need a reason to get up in the morning. I’m not talking about perfecting human brain transplants, but I am talking about having core pursuits that keep you engaged in life.

Start today. Take the time to visualize what your retirement years will be like and what would you be doing if you are happy, healthy and loving life. Now get to work creating your 3.5 core pursuits.

A Newsletter From The Dugout

It’s hard to decide on a topic to write a blog post about. I’m tapped into so many resources and experts in the retirement arena that it’s a challenge to pick one thing to focus on. (Baby Boomer onset ADD?) So this week I want to share a few of the value nuggets that came across my Wi-Fi recently.

Baseball Glove & Balls

How does the SECURE Act affect your retirement planning?  

2019 ended with the Setting Every Community Up For Retirement Enhancement – SECURE Act being signed into law. It’s the most comprehensive piece of retirement legislation passed in a long time. It covers new required minimum distribution rules, increased access to retirement plans, and increase lifetime income in retirement plans. You should be aware of the specifics of the law in order to stay on top of your planning. Here are the details from Investopedia.com https://www.investopedia.com/what-is-secure-act-how-affect-retirement-4692743

Lifelong Learning and The 60 Year Curriculum.

A group at Harvard University has begun a program called The Sixty Year Curriculum. Its focus is on the development of a new educational framework for teaching new skills in all phases of life. With increased lifespans and career lengths, we will need to be continually updating our skills. This program is aiming at formalizing the process of Lifelong Learning. Here is a link to an article with the details:  https://wallyboston.com/60-year-curriculum/

Health Matters (A Lot)

Intermittent Fasting is all over the news, and I’m happy about it. I started my IF routine in earnest about a year ago. I do a 16 hour fast that ends with a healthy lunch. While it took some getting used to with just water, black coffee, and green tea until noon, I’m committed.  In that time I’ve gone from 38” waist pants down to 33” and my total cholesterol is down 20 points. Peter Attia MD is one of the worldwide experts on longevity and health. In Episode 89 of his podcast, Peter answers a wide range of questions from subscribers on fasting.  https://peterattiamd.com/ama11/

Age Issues – OK Boomer

I finally paid attention to this “OK Boomer” thing. It all started early last year in response to an online video that went viral where an older fellow says “millennials and Generation Z have the Peter Pan syndrome: they don’t ever want to grow up.” As a result, OK Boomer became a catchphrase for younger people to mock the negative attitudes that Baby Boomer may show towards them. When a Boomer says something like “You kids don’t know what hard work is”, the response would be “OK Boomer”. It has taken a more serious turn with it being used in reply to the negative impact that the younger folk think Baby Boomers are having on the environment, real estate, and the economy. Heck, it’s even made it to the US Supreme Court. The BBC has an article that covers the OK Boomer phenomena https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-51132554

For Your Viewing Pleasure

General Magic is a fantastic documentary about one of the most important tech company you’ve never heard of. General Magic created the first smartphone with one problem, they were way ahead of the technology and the company failed. But what they created and the people that worked on it went on to develop the iPhone. It’s an amazing story of technology, business, and ego.   https://www.generalmagicthemovie.com/

Quote Of Wisdom: “Everything is a once in a lifetime experience” – Life Is Good tee-shirt

GETTING THINGS DONE – LIKE IT’S 1918

My Early Struggles

I want to share with you a tool that was probably the most valuable one I used throughout my career. When I first started my career as a project manager, I felt like I was swimming against a tsunami with all the things I had to do. I had a hard time figuring out what to work on next. All I was doing was reacting to the next fire with no sense of direction.

  • Do you feel the same way?
  • Do you have too much to do and not enough time?
  • Do you feel like you’re not making any progress?
  • Are you starring at a desk that resembles a dumpster?
  • What can you do to get out from under your pile of things you need to do?

I started looking for answers and tips on how to get a grip of the pile of priorities and I tried everything I could get my hands on. The solution I found dates back to 1918 and was described in Inc. Magazine. The article described the relationship between Charles Schwab, the steel magnate and the New York business consultant Ivy Lee.

Charles Schwab
Ivy Lee

One day, Lee was visiting Schwab in his office. Schwab started venting to Lee about the massive amount of work he had to do and how little progress he felt he was making. He said that not only does he feel that way but also his executive team also feels overwhelmed.

Lee responded that he believed he had a solution that he could teach Schwab and his team in 15 minutes. Schwab said great and asked how much it would cost. Lee said it will cost nothing up front but if Schwab felt Lee helped him, in 3 months Schwab could pay him what he felt it was worth.  Schwab agreed and set up times that Lee could give his training to Charles and his staff.

These are the 8 steps of The Ivy Lee Method:

  1. Before the end of each day, write down six, and no more than six, things you need to get done the next day.
  2. Review your list of six things and prioritize them with 1 being the most important and 6 being the least important of the six things.
  3. Go home have dinner and relax.
  4. First thing the next day, get to work on #1. Fight off all interruptions (Today, let the calls go to voicemail, ignore your emails, don’t get sucked into the water cooler chat about last night’s game) and focus on #1 until its complete.
  5. Take a break, walk around, and get a water.
  6. Get to work on #2 just like you did with #1. Then #3 and so on.
  7. At the end of the day, move any uncompleted items onto your list for tomorrow. Add more items to get your list to six things, then, prioritize that list.
  8. Repeat this process every day.

The team agreed to give this method a try. After the three months was over, Schwab was so impressed with the results, he handed Ivy Lee a check for $25,000.  That would be $400,000 in today’s dollars.

My Dashboard

The one step that I added was to maintain a list of things you needed to do. I started with a written list for each project I was working on and any non-project related things I was involved in. Today I use an Excel spreadsheet as a single dashboard with all required actions on one page. Each night, a quick review of my list will give me 6 things to do tomorrow. To get a deeper dive into this step I recommend David Allen’s book Getting Things Done. https://gettingthingsdone.com/ It’s far more involved than my method but a big part of it is maintaining a single list of open action items. Below is a screenshot of a draft of my Excel dashboard.

I’ve been relying on this method for over 30 years and have taught it to a few groups and the people I mentored. It has been a valuable asset for me because it’s simple, allows me to build momentum for taking action every day, prevents procrastination and it creates focus by not allowing me to multi-task.