It has been six weeks since I chose some words that identified my personal values. I thought creating a Vision Statement for Retirement from these words would be easy and quick. It definitely has not been either of those. I shared some values that were important to me, the values my husband chose, and where we overlapped in a previous blog entitled, “Embrace the Journey.”
When life is filled with tension and stress, I really struggle with thinking clearly. With all that has been going in the world with the pandemic, political and social unrest, and some of the challenges my children and grandchildren are facing, it has been difficult to focus on creating a vision for retirement.
I’ve been learning that if I get stuck I just need to keep moving forward and let things unfold naturally. The reason I was struggling is that I wanted my husband to write his own vision and then I thought we would write one for us a couple. I’m in this “in-between world” of working and being fully occupied 50 hours a week but at the same time looking forward to my retirement date. I want to get this all planned, but can’t because of the pandemic.
But thanks to some of the Rock Your Retirement podcasts I finally recognized my problem. Since all of our plans have been canceled or delayed I was looking for a project. My husband mentioned building raised beds for a garden. Without really thinking about it, I dove into “helping” him. You can imagine how that went. I started putting seed orders in carts online (thank goodness I didn’t press order). I got out graph paper and starting drawing plans, identifying where irrigation would go and coming up with a budget. One night I nearly pushed the button for a $2500.00 greenhouse that was sold out and on backorder so that it would be here before spring!
I gained an insight into some of the challenges we’ll face when I actually do retire. He has been retired for three years and keeps things up at home. I’ve been working all these years and as a director, I’m in charge. As two firstborns, vying for power and control, this won’t go well if we are stressing about something as innocuous as whether to plant a garden.
After a long Sunday morning conversation, he helped me to see that I was taking over his project. While he appreciated my help, he didn’t want to be on a schedule, didn’t want to create a plan, and didn’t want to get started immediately. He wanted to enjoy the process. I was focused on getting the garden in the ground- right now!
Following our conversation, I had an “aha” moment that helped me get unstuck. I was trying to impose what I wanted and not listening to him. While I had good intentions, it finally occurred to me that I really didn’t want a garden. The only reason he was considering it was because we won’t be able to go anywhere and it would be something to do while we wait out the pandemic. I’m still holding out that we can travel again so I’m still not sure I want something that will tie us to staying home.
So I took a walk and thought only about what my vision for retirement would be. I needed to quit trying to get him to do something for himself (he is already happy) or even write down something together. This is my purpose, not necessarily his, and once I focused on that, it took less than five minutes to write my first draft. It is part reality and part aspiration and definitely subject to revision in the future. But for now, it is good enough!
My purpose in retirement:
My greatest ambition is to please Jesus above all else.
I will continue to love and be loyal to my best friend and husband.
I am full of gratitude for my family and friends.
I embrace adventure and travel for the opportunity to learn and grow.
I am kind, thoughtful, and compassionate towards those in need.
I focus on my physical, spiritual, and emotional well-being so that I can bring joy to others through service in my community.
My next step is to figure out which of the activities I have planned will align with this purpose. Then I’ll need to decide how they align with the “10 Secrets for Creating and Living a Fulfilling Retirement.” I just hope it won’t take me six weeks to do this step. Even if it does, I’m determined to enjoy the process of planning for retirement. With a little over 4 months to go, I think I have time.