What Do You See When You Dream Of Retirement?

Posted: 9 years ago | By: Christine Somers | In: Life Management | Read Time: 2 minutes, 6 seconds

{Queens Theatre in Queens NY}

I have been thinking about retirement. Not because I am ready to retire but more as one who daydreams about her summer vacation. In my retirement scenario I am healthy and have plenty of money and time to indulge my desire to write, learn to make homemade pasta...in Italy or hike the Appalachian Trail at my leisure. These fanciful day trips to the future have made me aware of two things about myself and others.

First, I don't want to stop working. I enjoy my work. I enjoy the people I work with and enjoy the creative challenge that comes from working with a team.  I just want to have more freedom to pick and choose when and how much I work. I have a friend who spent 30 years working with a water treatment company and he is now looking at retiring. Do you know what he wants to do when he retires? He wants to go to Africa and help communities that do not have clean water establish water treatment facilities. He likes his work, he wants to help others and he wants to see another part of the world. His vision is not of a gold watch and 18 holes of golf but of staying active and making a difference in the world.  

My second retirement revelation is the desire to stop letting money dictate my choices. No, I am not independently wealthy and don't expect a huge windfall in my lifetime but I also don't want the race for the paycheck to be the only consideration for the choices I make as I age. I am saving money for a future that may look different than today. Kathy at smartliving365 shows how "right sizing" your life can save you real dollars and allows you more freedom to pursue other interests. I found her discussion meaningful because Kathy and her husband not only cut expenses but in the process of right sizing was able to align their life more closely to their values. It was a win-win all around. 

As I talk to my friends and colleagues, I understand that retirement means something very different to us than it did to the previous generation. Many of us want to continue to work, others want to give back to their communities and the world while some want to follow long delayed dreams. What does retirement mean to you? When you take your fanciful day trips to the future, what do you see?