By Joe Casey
I must confess. I suck at vacation.
Make no mistake. I love vacations. I look forward to them. I enjoy them. Unlike many Americans I actually consistently take them.
The problem is that I can’t resist trying to do something productive with all that unscheduled time.
Last week, my wife surprised us with the news that one of her friends offered to lend us their beach house for the Fourth of July weekend. An unplanned four-day mini vacation. Awesome!
But my thoughts immediately went to What can I get done while we’re there? Dumb. Then I made the mistake of asking about their TV package to determine if I could watch the Celtics-Sixers summer league game. Dumber.
After decades of vacations, I’ve become much better at stealth multi-taskin.g What I learned is to identify what types of things naturally fit into the rhythm of vacation that won’t disrupt it and annoy my family (even more than I usually do).
For me, that’s creating time for thinking and planning. I can do it at the beach, while on a long walk and no-one will be the wiser.
One of those things that’s a perfect fit is thinking about your life in retirement (and by “retirement” we mean when you decide to graduate from the grind and move on to create your next chapter).
Vacation is a great time to create some space for thinking, that is so hard to do during your usual day-to-day schedule.
Ok. We’ll start with the hard stuff. Pull the plug. Disconnect. It’s time to chill. The other stuff can wait. Spend a day or two or three off the grid. Carve out some time for yourself. Notice what it does to your perspective.
Now that you’ve ditched the digital, rediscover that there’s something special about the old school tools of paper and pencil. Pack a notebook and write a running list of the things you’d really like to do when you “retire.” Where would you live? If you had an encore career, what would it be? Identify one step you can take this year to move you toward your ideal life in retirement. If you’re a fan of the bucket list, write one.
Have some fun. Picture what all this would look like. Draw. Create a Mind Map.
The best coaches in sports are renowned for making just the right tweaks for the second half. How’s your 2017 going? What adjustments do you want to make in the second half?
Write a list of what you want to do:
– More of
– Less of
And what you’ll:
– Start doing
– Stop doing
(When you return home, nail this list to your refrigerator door. Well, please don’t literally nail it, but you get the idea).
Maybe we do become a little set in our ways as we get older. Try one new thing on vacation. Just ONE. Step out of the comfort zone. It’s good practice for building a skill that leads to a great life in retirement.
Joe Casey is a former senior HR executive who’s pivoted to a second career as a retirement coach.