Lately, I’ve been getting asked two questions at work, “When are you retiring?” Followed by, “What are your retirement plans?” The answer to question #1 is easy, March 28, 2021. The answer to question #2, well, not so easy.
Before the pandemic, I think I had a pretty good handle on how I was going to plan for my retirement. I had lists of things I already love to do. Then I had some vague ideas of things I wanted to try to do. After that, there were lists of places in the United States, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and Europe I hoped to visit someday. I was preparing to volunteer at two charities I have been financially supporting for years. I knew that spending time with grandkids and more time with my husband was a key element of my plan. Then the pandemic hit and the lack of predictability made my planning nearly impossible.
A few months ago, I ordered a 2021 wall calendar and filled in birthdays, the delayed and now rescheduled weddings in Canada (which is still closed to Americans), and our 41st wedding anniversary.
Our annual trip (booked when the virus numbers were low this past summer) with the kids and grandkids in February to Cabo San Lucas is on the calendar and paid for. But sadly none of us know if we will take the chance to actually go. It is not looking great. At least we can rebook for a different time if things continue to fall apart. We also booked a week right after I retire, to go golfing in Scottsdale, Arizona, and a long-anticipated visit with my daddy (after not seeing him in person for 18 months). Then on pure faith, we scheduled a week in August in Idaho again. But that is where I stopped. I’ve decided to not put any more emotional energy into trying to make an elaborate plan.
Until more is known about the safety of travel, the efficacy of the vaccine, and our state’s ability to “bend the curve” in a different direction, it is just too discouraging to try to really make my retirement plans. Don’t get me wrong, I’m looking forward to these three possible trips. But it seems foolish to spend a lot of effort, time, and money on plans with so many contingencies that they’ll probably never happen.
My retirement plans consist of staying safe and healthy, continuing to learn Spanish, painting with watercolors, reading through the entire bible in a year, hiking and biking, and walking the dog. I’ll probably spend lots of time in my backyard, reading books that I didn’t have time to read before and staying connected “virtually” with the people I love. Finally, my favorite thing about retirement is learning how to play golf. I’m taking weekly lessons and I’m excited to be able to do something new in retirement that is still safe.
For now, this current retirement plan is “good enough.” There is no point in worrying about things I can’t change and I have so many things to look forward to, especially when we come to the other side of the pandemic. I hope you do too!
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.