My career involved a concept called "transition planning". Transition means: movement, passage or change. Specifically, I focused on helping students plan for life after secondary school, including both short and long term goals and plans.. Transition planning is applicable to any "life event". Some examples of significant life events include: birth, starting school, changing school, finishing school, marriage, divorce, job loss, new job, becoming an "empty nester", retirement, relocation, illness and of course, death.
Today's article will talk about developing a "bucket list". I think "bucket list" became a more well known concept after release of the movie: The Bucket List. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0825232/
Both my husband and I recently retired. We left full time employment one year apart. It was a slightly different experience for each of us. My husband worked for much of his adult life. Many days were long hours, often 6 and 7 days a week. His retirement wasn't exactly on the radar when it came up, so it was rather unexpected. Retirement was getting closer, but he anticipated it would not be for a few more years. As a result, when it happened sooner than planned, he didn't have much time to wrap his head around such an abrupt and significant change in his life. It was at least a year before his mind and body adjusted to the changes in schedule, time demands and level of activity. He left his job without much opportunity for advance planning and he didn't have a very well developed bucket list. He wasn't very prepared and it showed.
My own retirement happened a year later and my transition was a much better experience. Why? Well, a potential opportunity to retire seemed possible at the same time my husband was going to retire. This was unexpected for me. Like my husband, I was not mentally prepared for the idea retiring sooner than originally planned. Yes, I knew I'd retire a few years down the road, but NOT then. I had not been thinking or planning about it much. I can attest that I felt much angst, upheaval and disorientation knowing that I was not prepared for this. (and anyone who knows me, knows I LIKE to be prepared!) As it turned out, the opportunity to retire did not present itself then. I continued working, but with the knowledge that a retirement opportunity "could" come up again the following year. I spent that next year engaged in my work, but with the mindset that I "may" be walking away from it all at the end of the school year. Of course, I got busy thinking and planning. I had Plan A and Plan B floating about in my mind constantly. I basically had a year to "prepare" for the transition and change, should it actually happen.
When I finally did retire, it was a little bittersweet as I was leaving my career, people I liked and things I enjoyed doing behind. It was exciting too, as I was looking forward to the promise of a more relaxed life, new opportunity for fun and the ability to be in charge of where I was, what I would do and who I would be with. I've run across a few people who did not transition well into retirement. They expressed that they felt lost and unhappy. They missed working, often felt bored and they didn't feel their lives were complete. It's amazing how many of us are dependent on having routine and structure in our lives, often provided by external influences. Once retired, some of that responsibility to create order and fill our lives with meaning falls on our own shoulders. But, I've also found many people who moved into retirement very successfully and are happy and active. They were better prepared to assume the responsibility for providing the necessary structure and meaning to their lives. This brings me to the concept of making your "bucket list".
No matter what age you are....it's not too soon to start developing your "bucket list". Making a living, raising a family and taking care of all the demands of daily living occupy a great deal of our attention and time as we move through life. Who hasn't said "If I only had time, I would ________________;" Fill in those blanks and put them in your "bucket list" now. You can dip into the bucket at any time of your life, even if you aren't retired. But once retired, that bucket list will serve you well, as a great resource of ideas for things to do, accomplish, try out, and learn about. And the best part is that the bucket never gets full, you can keep adding to it, even after you do finally retire. New ideas can form everyday! I've had many people comment that they are so busy even though they are retired. They have even had to learn it's ok to "say no" because there's just so much out there they could do or get involved in. It is great to have control and make choices. I am sure they had their "bucket list" well prepared for their transition to retirement.
So, now is the time to get your "bucket" and get busy! Here is a fun site to help you get started!!