This article from Knowledge@Wharton really resonated for me. Titled The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time? it neatly summarizes some big questions.
Stewart Friedman at Wharton summarizes this way: “The questions people ask at earlier stages of life become more profound at these later stages. Am I living the life I want to live? What is most important to me? Who is most important to me? You see the end, and so you think about what you want to do with the time that you have remaining. There is the question of: now what?”
I have struggled with this question. And yes, I realize it’s a first world question. And a boomer-centric question. And one I should have seen coming.
Nonetheless, here I am. What should I do with this time? What’s my bucket list? In which activities should I be involved? Where do I want to make a contribution?
I think the answer isn’t at the end of those question marks. My retirement is not another career step. It is not something I will sink into, get addicted to, play at, or be distracted by. It is not a number of activities to keep busy.
The questions I should have been asking every year – about balancing my health, relationships, community, and career – have gained urgency over time. But these questions have also changed in fundamental ways since the time I stopped working.
What is the universe calling me to be? I’m listening.