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Resisting the Bucket List Mirage (aka More Naps Would be Good )

I talk to a lot of my clients, as well as professional colleagues, who are roughly in my age range (58). While some of them know exactly when they plan to retire (if they haven’t already), and what they plan to do; many of them are like me – unsure about whether retirement is a good idea.

We are living longer. And even if we can afford not to work for the next 30+ years, the real question is whether we will be happy if we walk away from the challenges that have engaged us for so long.  Will we be happy on the beach, on the golf course, traveling, watching television, watching the grandchildren, or volunteering in our communities?

Many feel pushed to make a decision; encouraged to “let it go.” The whole process can become stressful, filled with anxiety.  We hesitate.  And some of us simply resist.

We are confronted with the seemingly unimpeachable proposition that we must “do it now” before we’re too old and decrepit to enjoy the things “we really want to do.” Like what?  I ask.  Spend more time travelling and staying in hotels? Eating out more? Or is the plan simply to “be more involved” with your grandchildren?

I’ve had grandchildren (one of whom is pictured above) for 5+ years. Love ‘em to death – but here’s what I’ve learned:  They ain’t my kids, and raising them ain’t my business.  And I don’t want it to be.  I had my shot at parenting – gave myself a C or C-.  Maybe I could do better with a second chance – but no one is asking me to try – and in truth, I don’t have the energy or inclination.  Sure, there’s a role for grandparents – but it’s small one.

Retirement.  Bucket List.  It’s all a soul-sucking mirage.

OK.  I recognize my perspective on retirement isn’t shared by everyone – and the soul-sucking part may be overselling it.  But I’ve also come to realize that I am not alone.  Seems to me that there are a lot of people struggling with these same issues.  It’s a hard decision with big implications.  In any event, retired or not, I’ll tell you what would be good: more naps.