Sunday, March 17, 2013

Four More Years

I'm not quite there, but in six weeks or so this school year will be over. We'll be having our annual faculty retirement party....this year for the dean and I'm not sure who else. Four school years later, it will be my turn. My plan is that in April 2017, I'll be cleaning out my office, and part of the party will be for me.

I've been thinking about this actively for several years, but now that this event is only 4 years away (LESS THAN 5!!!!!!!!!) I'm actively studying about it. I am looking forward to this next phase of my life, and I want to do it well.

This week I read a sobering article based on social science research about myths of retirement. More or less the message was that things probably won't change much from whatever you are doing before retirement. And of course, over time, things will get worse too. The odds are that you will NOT do all that travel you say you want, or develop new hobbies, skills or whatever. You won't eat better or exercise more or be happier than before retirement. For many the money will run out or not keep up with inflation. Your health will get worse. Over time you'll get lonelier as people die or move on.

So...........a lot to think about.  I can't do much about the fact that my overall health will probably decline with age or that others will leave me because they die or move or whatever. But I can do some things about the other stuff. I can take some responsibility and empowered action about trying to keep up my health (success never guaranteed, of course, but I can set the stage as best I am able), making sure the money does last, and actually getting off my duff and doing those things I say I want to do.

I am already pretty happy now, so that's not the issue to work on. I'm not looking forward to being happy in the future. I am happy now. I just need to keep up whatever my general attitudes are that keep me that way. I'm not worried about this.

The biggest thing that I can see that I can do beginning now is to develop as many healthy body practices as possible so that these things will already be habits four years from now. I'm talking mostly what I eat and how I move. Compared to many, I'm not half bad here, but for sure things can be better.

The next thing I can do is to be as frugal with my money as possible. Again, I'm already not half bad, but there's always room for improvement.

And finally I can make an actual do-able plan to go traveling which is what I say is the biggest thing I am looking forward to. I don't want to travel forever, my whole retirement time, but for sure there are many places I do want to visit that I just don't have the time for when I am working. I figure, if in 2017 I have enough money and enough good health to be able to go somewhere, what I will need is an actual plan for how to do it. I'll need specific ideas about where to go, how to get there, where & how to stay, how much money to spend, how much time to stay and what will happen to whatever I leave behind.

I think I will leave aside the specific travel plans at this time. We are talking four years, after all. But I will start working on the other things.

This blog will be a good vehicle for doing that. One thing I know already about keeping up good habits is to make your intentions known to others. This helps with accountability. If I tell all of you that I intend something or another, eventually I'll have to answer to all of you. Did I do it?

What to do first? I think I will do some studying. I want to read that book(and other things I can find)  about forming new habits and keeping them. I want to study more about what would be the best general kind of diet to follow and figure out the best old food habits to plan to get rid of.

I'll get back to you about the next steps. Two weeks at the most. Gotta go get some reading done.

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