This began when we left the workforce and our paying jobs. Typically new retirees take one of three paths: 1) honeymoon; 2) immediate retirement routine; and 3) rest and relaxation. I took the honeymoon path which is like an extended vacation. There’s plenty of time to travel, pursue a hobby and do projects. The honeymoon path usually lasts between 12-18 months. Claire took the immediate retirement routine path. She filled her new-found abundance of time with what she loves to do – creative projects that involve sewing such as quilting and embroidery. This path lasts indefinitely.
Retirees who take either the honeymoon or rest and relaxation path may end up in a retirement stage called “disenchantment”. At some point the novelty of being retired wears off. You wonder whether “is that’s all there is”. Boredom, anxiety and depression can set in. Unfortunately I was one of the unlucky ones who entered this stage. I was unhappy and stressed out. I felt that I was “failing” retirement. Eventually I worked my way out (it took about a year). I started by taking an inventory of my retirement experience and figuring out ways to improve it. I searched for purpose and tried new things. I volunteered and learned about website development and audio recording. I applied these new skills to developing my own website and podcast. This helped me establish a new identity, a sense of purpose and the feeling that I was still contributing. I mark this as the end of my period of disenchantment and the start of retirement 2.0.
I’ve been blogging, podcasting and recording videos about retirement and personal finance since 2015. In many ways producing content mirrors my work life. I follow a schedule, set goals, track progress, and focus on my users/followers. Every morning I think about my objectives for the day. Every night I review what I accomplished.
This past summer I took a break from producing content. Without the self-imposed structure and work-like routine, I felt more relaxed. I focused on enjoying whatever I was doing. I also reflected on my business-like approach to blogging and podcasting. One day I asked Claire if she thought in terms of daily accomplishments because she gets a lot done every day. She said no which led to an epiphany. Accomplishing tasks isn’t the same as enjoying them. I realize that, even though retired, I maintain a worker’s mindset in part because work has been a part of my life since I was very young and because of self-limiting beliefs.
One of my biggest self-limiting beliefs is that I’m not artistic or creative, e.g. I can’t draw, paint, build, etc. Just like we encourage people to overcome their personal finance self-limiting beliefs, I decided to tackle mine. I’m starting a new chapter in my retirement life – finding creative projects that bring me a sense of joy and satisfaction. I’ve got some ideas and have started a couple of projects. It’s definitely a learning process but so far I’m enjoying myself.
This brings me to retirement 3.0. I’ve decided to wrap up my personal finance website/blog and podcast at the end of 2021. I may produce an occasional YouTube video but maybe not. If I come up with an idea for a new website, I may create one. We’ll see. Anyhow, retirement 3.0 is about erasing self-limiting beliefs, pursuing creative and fun projects just for me and in general simply enjoying life. Returning to the disenchantment question of “is that all there is”, I believe that retirement 3.0 will be a great next chapter in my retirement journey!
For more on changes in retirement, check out my video The 6 Stages of Retirement.