One of the things we’ve been doing a lot lately is having what we call “Conversations for Possibility”. When I was learning about decision making for work projects about 15 years ago I learned that when there is money or a deadline attached to a decision, it can cause stress and conflict.
Because decisions have real impacts, on when something will happen and how much it will cost, the stakes are higher. Sometimes our “lesser” selves come out and instead of looking at all of the options, weighing the pros and cons, and deciding what is the best decision based on the information we have, we can become scared and emotional.
By starting our evening walk and talks with a clear answer to one of these questions, “Is this a conversation for possibility?” or “Is this a conversation for a decision?” we have actually enjoyed the process of planning for retirement.
We are both noticing that without a deadline or a real cost, the stakes are lower and we can honestly share our hearts. However, when we know a decision is needed, it is not so easy. For our future activities, we’ve talked about international places we might want to visit when it is safe. We have imagined possibilities for travel in the United States but bounce back and forth between getting a travel trailer and camping or a boat and cruising Puget Sound. We’ve talked about spending more time doing things we already have the supplies and equipment for, such as hiking, snow skiing, camping, and biking. We’ve talked about trying something completely new for both of us or just one of us. Golf lessons for me come to mind.
For us, it isn’t only about activities. We have a huge family and reconnecting with them when it is safe to do so is important to both of us. We haven’t celebrated a holiday with everyone since last Christmas. The last family reunions we hosted in our backyard had 80 people in 2018 and about 75 people, including cousins we found in Ireland, in 2013. We are very hopeful we can bring everyone together again.
We have also explored ways to give back to our community. Will we do this together or individually? How will our schedules work together when things start to return to whatever “normal” becomes. In fact, we went back to church for the first time after 6 months and our life group will be meeting this week in person instead of a Zoom call. This is an area that probably will need the most attention for us.
For my husband and me, these and other questions are being talked about at least two or three times each week. They aren’t long conversations but they are intentional. Having numerous “conversations for possibility” is helping us recognize there are some real decisions that will have to be made. Because there are some important deadlines for decisions that are now about six months away, we want to be ready.
Barbara is the new star of the Rock Your Retirement show! For one year, she'll let Kathe Kline tag along as she goes through her retirement journey.