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Free to be me...

Many people say the best thing about being retired is that they're finally 'free to be me'.  For the first time in their life, they can go where they want and do what they want, when they want.  They can wear what they want and they don't have to answer to anyone else, meet anyone else's deadlines or jump through anyone else's hoops.

What does 'free to be me' mean for you personally?

For example: Are you, by nature, a lark or a night owl?  Many night owls have been forced into becoming 'morning people' over the course of their working lifetimes because of the demands of their jobs and parenthood.  However, when you're no longer a slave to your alarm clock and can become more in sync with your own circadian rhythms, what time will you get up in the morning?  What time will you go to bed at night?  (Circadian rhythms are regular rhythms of growth and activity, which occur in an approximately 24-hour cycle.) 

Will you linger longer?

According to a US news report, many retired people report that they enjoy just 'lingering longer' - they spend longer reading the paper, enjoying the taste of that cup of coffee, actually looking at what's on the supermarket shelves rather than doing the usual 'shopping cart dash'.  They spend more time enjoying a meal, rather than bolting down their food.  They even linger longer over household chores!  What are you really looking forward to doing that you never had time to do when you were working?

Keeping up appearances

When you no longer have to dress for work, what will you wear?  Will you slob out all day in t-shirts and sweats or will you still be a 'neat ned' and keep up your dress standards?  (I'm a mix of both - t-shirts and sweats when I'm working from home and 'neat ned' on the days I'm out and about!)

What effect will your freedom have on your health?

When you have more time to spend on food shopping and food preparation, will your eating habits and patterns change?  And, if so, how?

The US News report referred to earlier also said that retirees watch, on average, 4 hours of TV each day, compared to the two and a half hours that the rest of us watches.  Will you spend an extra one and a half hours (or more) sitting watching TV or will you be up and about, exercising and making sure you stay fit and healthy?

And finally...

Another important question to ask yourself is: Will watching more TV and lingering over food, shopping and household chores be enough to keep you happy, engaged, enthused and productive in your retirement?  Does that sound like the 'free to be me' that you were hoping for?  Or were you hoping for something a little more exciting?

What does 'free to be me' look like for you?



Hmmm. Very good questions. I have visions of lingering longer and learning how to relax. I will take up tai chi and learn to paint. I will let my hair grow gray gracefully. But what will I do that will fulfill me? How will I know I a reaching my potential. Ever the student of life,I do know I will be grateful for no longer having to work for someone else.

Ann Harrison

I like the Abraham Hicks' take on fulfillment/achieving potential - that we'll never be 'done' and we're here for the expansion. As someone who is 'ever the student of life', Lucie, I don't think you're going to have too many problems!

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