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Retirement lifestyle

November 15, 2013

Retirement: Time to focus on your passion

As your to-do list of working-life chores gets shorter, make the most of the opportunity to pay attention to your want-to-do list.

Better late than latent.

If you’re retired (or if you’re still working but you’re not having as much fun as you’d like), I hope these four words will spur you to reignite long-delayed interests or strike up new ones that could be adding fun and fulfillment to your life.

Since I retired more than two years ago, I’ve made a point of adding new activities to my schedule and resuming interests I hadn’t gotten around to in years. My list of things I’d been putting off includes things like travel, exploring new foods, reading, writing, exercise and home renovation.

I bet you have your own list, even if some of it’s a bit dreamy or wishful. Maybe it’s not written down, but simply floats into your consciousness at quiet times. I’m talking about the stuff people look forward to doing tomorrow, or when they have a bit more time, or certainly in retirement.

In fact, I bet you have two lists:

  1. A to-do list of daily work, family or household chores that need to get done.
  2. A want-to-do list of latent things you’d like to do, if only …

You can’t live a latent life

What’s so bad about having latent interests or skills? Isn’t it nice to have something to dream about, some new area for personal growth? Something to look forward to?

That’s no problem at all — if your daily life is already filled to the brim with meetings, projects, family responsibilities and putting food on the table. But if you’ve reached retirement (or “retirement age,” whatever that means to you) and the items on your want-to-do list are still eluding you, you might have a problem.

If you’re retired and your health and budget permit, what’s the use of having interests at all if they’re just sitting there? “Latent passion” is an oxymoron.

Focus on your passion

“Choose your passion, not your pension,” is how Denis Waitley, a leading personal success coach puts it.

It doesn’t matter what you’re interested in. Whether it’s basket-weaving, skydiving, volunteering, quilting or oil painting — if you’re passionate about it, but your passion is sitting dormant, lying fallow, or latent, it’s not doing you any good!

We’ve all heard, “if you don’t use it, you lose it.” That especially applies to your want-to-do list. Don’t let that happen to your passion. And if you’re not sure what you’re passionate about, don’t let that stop you, either! Focus on finding your passion.

If you’re planning for retirement, talk to your financial advisor about reflecting your passions in your retirement plan. Retirement is no time to put off what makes you happy because you’re not sure you can afford it.

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