I have been quiet the past few weeks. I have been preparing for and then enjoying the arrival of extended family to our lake house. This is the 8th year for this gathering. I still treasure these weeks. It is gratifying to know that so many family members are willing to use their valuable vacation time to travel and join together in Kentucky. This past week was interesting to me for another reason, as I made a special effort to distance myself from my work.
This caused me to think about how difficult it is for many folks to mentally and emotionally retire. I learned that I am not as important as I thought I was. Things can and will get done without me. This sense of not being an essential cog in the work machine can be hard to accept for some. On the other hand, I tried to embrace it. It helps realign the work-life balance. More important, it helps me understand that work should fit into life, not the other way around. Living for the weekends and for planned vacations is not satisfying when everything else revolves around working for money. The transitions between our working life and our “other life” should not be so abrupt or artificial.
This was sort of a breakthrough experience for me. I am leaving the lake today. I will be in a real “office” tomorrow for the first time in ten days. I will find interesting work to do and interesting colleagues and clients to work with. But I won’t let that change my mindset about the rest of my life as I plan for and then ease into retirement mode.
How about you? Do you look at “vacations” differently as you age and see the retirement goal line approaching?