The Retirement Divas approach to retirement planning was born deep in the compost of fear and paralysis that I was suffocating under when I realized that by conventional standards, I was totally unprepared for retirement.
As I wrote in my very first post, I eventually realized that could stay stuck, or I could choose a different path, one that empowered and inspired me to re-imagine what my retirement life would look like. I decided that instead of being constrained by what I didn’t have (namely a healthy retirement nest egg) that I would focus instead on the talents and gifts that I do have in order to come up with an alternative.
From the minute I realized that I had the strengths, talents, and commitment to change the trajectory for the second half of my life, the fog of fear started to lift and my imagination started firing on all cylinders.
The first step, and one of the hardest, was to let go of my traditional notions of what "successful" retirement was supposed to look like.
Over the last few years I’ve been gradually moving towards a lifestyle I call “minimalicity” – the fusion of minimalism and simplicity. I’m intentional about how I spend my resources (time, energy, money) and my life is much more balanced, and much less stressful, now than it had been for most of my adult life.
I didn’t know it at the time, but in retrospect, I realize that I was already preparing for the retirement life I would eventually create. It’s said that the soul knows what it needs, even when we’re not consciously aware of it. I believe that's true.
The next step was envisioning where and how I wanted to live, and how I would fill all of the space that for so many years was consumed by my career.
I knew that I wanted to live in a beautiful home – not big, but very carefully planned to maximize the use of the space while at the same time maintaining a light-filled, open floor plan.
I knew that I wanted to be as healthy as I possibly could be, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, for all the obvious reasons, but also to minimize my health care expenses as much as possible.
I knew I wanted to surround myself with a small but fiercely loyal tribe of like-minded souls to share the joys and challenges of growing old together. I can see us having regular dinner parties, complete with board games, movies, and outrageously delicious cocktails. For those that don't live close-by, I see virtual coffee chats and happy hours.
I’m amazed at the power of consciously visualizing my retirement life, not just thinking about it, but feeling it. That awful fear that I lived with for years has been replaced by an excitement and enthusiasm that I didn’t think was possible.
I plan to retire from my current job in about 10 years, so why start planning now? Because now that I’m clear on the awesome retirement life I intend to live, the real question is why wait?
Retirement Divas know that the best way to plan for an awesome retirement life is to start living it now. Doing so will either confirm that you’ve made choices that are right for you or convince you that you may need to do some more refining. And of course, it eliminates that feeling of waking up the day after your last day at work and wondering, "God, what do I do now?"
Since going all-in on my commitment to start living my best life now, some amazing things have happened:
* I've launched Retirement Divas, and while the website is still new, I'm already getting nearly 300,000 monthly viewers at my Pinterest account, have gotten my trademark application approved, applied for a business license, and hired a graphic designer.
* I've just finalized an order for 50 copies of my new book, Intentional Mindfulness: A 30-day Journey
* I've lost nearly 25 pounds thanks to my wonderful doctor who figured out that the reason I wasn't losing weight no matter how hard I tried was due to insulin resistance.
* I've started developing new and stronger personal friendships and professional relationships
* I've decluttered my home, letting go of more than 50% of my possessions. I'm not done, but I can definitely notice the difference
* I've taken an online course in HTML and CSS coding, so I can build a new website for the association I work for, almost from scratch!
* I've found the courage to let go of a long-time relationship that was no longer working. The unexpected benefit is that I now have much more energy and creativity to devote to my passions, Retirement Divas and gardening.
I don't know who Johann Wolfgang van Goethe was, but he nailed it with the following quote:
So are you convinced yet that there’s no better time to start creating a retirement life you’ll love than right now? If so, join the Retirement Divas community and visit often. I’ll be sharing lots of ideas, tools, and tips.
Living our best lives