Have you ever been to a play or a musical and become mesmerized by the actions on stage to the point that Act One is over before you know it? You’re so amazed by what you’ve experienced you can’t wait for what’s coming next. The theater is buzzing with words of praise and you know you’re witnessing true masters at work in the stage direction and performances you’re witnessing. Can Act Two possibly be as good as what you’ve just seen?
In some respects, our life plays out just like a stage production. Act One certainly covers a lot of ground. Our education, family life and our careers are all part of the scene that unfolds with us playing the leading role. We’re the playwright, producer and performer and we have more control than we think about what happens on the stage we call Life. It goes by quicker than we realize and it’s only when we get to the end of Act One, our working career, that we realize just how fast it whizzed by. Then comes Act Two: our Retirement.
Imagine for a moment that wonderful First Act we just described and then, when Intermission is over, taking your seat and realizing there’s no script. The actors have no lines to say, no songs to sing and no dance numbers because there’s no stage direction at all. The sad fact is that many people wake up on their first day of their Retirement with that exact feeling. All the years of hard work and saving are behind them – now what? There are no meetings to go to, no e-mails to catch up on and no conference calls. The retirement party is over, and your calendar is clear for the rest of your life. If you defined yourself by what you did to make a living, there can be a real adjustment needed when there’s no longer a job to go to.
For many people, they just find another job where they’ll work a little less but not have to worry about how to fill their time. That’s sad because retirement should be a time when you enjoy life to the fullest. Your days should be filled with things you want to do, subjects you want to learn about and places you want to see. It’s easier than you think if you take a little time to plan. Most people plan their finances, but they don’t plan out their time. You can change that right now if you find the days dragging and the time you spend in front of the television exceeds the time you spend with other people.
One of the most revealing exercises you can do is to find a quiet place and ask yourself what do want to do with the rest of your life. Don’t rule anything out and make sure you write everything down. Go back as far as you can remember and capture every dream or desire you’ve ever had. Take your time doing this and try to recall as much as you can. Put your list away and then read it the next day and the day after that. Add to the list anything else you think of and start to prioritize the items most important to you. Then ask yourself: what are you waiting for? Make Act Two even better than Act One!aarp, Act, life insurance, Lifes, medicaid, retirement, retirement calculator, social security