You’ve likely heard the phrase, curiosity killed the cat. People often said this to dissuade others from capricious exploration or experimentation.
But you know what, those people were just scared about the power of a curious mind.
Curiosity is an incredible trait and a marvelous invitation to learn more about yourself and your interests. It’s also a fantastic retirement companion.
Because curiosity can be like a spark, igniting your imagination to engage in activities that are meaningful to you. Remaining open, curious, and excited encourages you to continue moving forward and bettering yourself.
- How can you stay curious in retirement?
- How is curiosity connected to your identity?
- What does a desire for growth have to do with satisfaction in your golden years?
Curious yet? Let’s start exploring!
Curiosity and Retirement
Society often views retirement as the ultimate stage of life. When you’re ready to retire, you may feel like you’ve finally “made it.”
But what lies beyond the finish line?
Let’s think about it as running a marathon.
There’s so much that goes into race preparation than showing up the day of, both for the individuals and the event organizers.
As an individual racer, you spend months (sometimes years) training for the event. You likely change the way you eat, how much you sleep, when you work out, how you work out (cross-training), and more to be healthy and prepared when the day comes.
The folks who put on the event have just as much to plan for, including city permits, insurance, building a course, advertising, events, apparel, aid stations, food, etc. Those water and Gatorade cups at mile 5, aid stations at mile 12, and entertainment at mile 20 aren’t there by accident or happenstance!
Now imagine if you ran a race without any of those things. Would you be disappointed when you made it to the end without a banana and a beer waiting for you?
Like planning an intense race, creating your retirement plan doesn’t just happen—you have to make it happen. You don’t want to make it to retirement and be disappointed when the retirement party and fanfare are over and nothing is waiting for you on the other side.
You want to create a dynamic retirement plan that can evolve and adapt when new opportunities arise. Retirement shouldn’t be static, like a race, it should be active and full of opportunities for growth.
One way to be intentional about your retirement lifestyle is to be actively curious about pursuing new things, and you can do that by maintaining a curious list.
What’s A Curious List?
Building a fulfilling retirement lifestyle takes so much time, energy, and trial and error. A tool that can help is a curious list.
A curious list is a simple tool that gives you the space to think through activities or events that sound fascinating. Perhaps the best thing about this list is that it’s zero pressure. It’s not a honey-do or bucket list that makes you feel obligated to check items off. Instead, it’s a way for you to think through things—both big and small—that capture your interest.
Take some time right now to think about what spikes your curiosity. If you’re feeling stuck, ask yourself,
- What would I like to learn?
- Are there activities I haven’t done that I’d like to try?
- What types of activities make me lose track of time?
- Where do I want to grow?
As soon as you start asking questions, your brain will flood with answers. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to learn a second language. Amazing, put it on the list! Now, this doesn’t mean you have to be fluent in Spanish within six months; it’s simply a way for you to document things that excite you.
Maybe you’ll pursue some of the things on this list, or perhaps you won’t. The items on your list may also lead you to other related or connected ideas that could suit you better. Say you were curious about yoga, but you connected more to the meditation side than the exercise side. Great, now you can try different forms of meditation! Remember, your interest in one element could lead you to another; it’s an ongoing cycle.
No matter what the outcome, it’s okay! Your curious list isn’t like an accountability tool; rather, it’s like a brainstorming session.
Think about when you brainstorm new ideas at work—some are fantastic, and others aren’t anything to write home about. But no matter what, all thoughts are accepted and encouraged because you never know where they might lead.
Your curious list can help give you the momentum you need to try different things and open you up to unique experiences. It gives you something to look forward to when retirement nears and brings thought and intention to your life.
Reform Your Identity
What springs to mind when you think about your identity?
It might be the things you do, like work, hobbies, or passions, the people you spend time with, the values you live by, and more.
For many people, their career is a significant part of their identity, and when that piece of life changes, there can be a considerable void to fill. An excellent step to replenish that void is by dedicating focused attention to what matters most to you.
Turn to your values, and ask yourself,
- What are your core values?
- How does your current lifestyle reflect them?
- Are there things you’re doing that don’t align with your values?
- How can you intentionally infuse values into your retirement lifestyle?
Your values are the springboard for your entire retirement life. You want to be intentional with your time and spend it on things that further your values and leave you feeling fulfilled. For example, your values might include family, spirituality, hobbies, and lifelong learning.
Once you have a list of your values, think about things that pique your interest within each value-set. Perhaps you want to spend more quality time with your family and friends or bring a more concerted effort to your spiritual wellbeing. List out all of the things that excite you about those values and why they carry so much meaning in your life.
When you connect your curious list with your values, you know that you’ll spend your time meaningfully and thoughtfully.
Redefine Retirement Sucess
Everyone has a different version of what it means to be “successful.” And that definition is likely to change over time.
Many equate success with productivity and accomplishments—and that makes sense.
When you were working full time, you had performance reviews, peer reviews, deadlines, big projects, customer feedback, and more, providing clear benchmarks for success. If you didn’t meet your goals, you might not get the raise or the budget increase your team needed. But if you did, you could be in line for a promotion or a bonus. In the working world, there’s a direct line between productivity and success.
But in retirement, the rules aren’t quite as clear. Without those tangible parameters, it can be difficult for people to define “success” regarding their retirement plan.
Is relaxing on the beach successful? If you asked some people, their answer would be a resounding “yes”! They’ve worked hard their whole lives and can now rest and recharge.
But other people might be bored or listless with a leisure-focused retirement and left thinking, “but what did I do today” and may feel a lingering feeling of restlessness. It could also lead to a decline in self-worth, so they need a plan that keeps them busy.
Now, it’s time to think through the big question,
What does a successful year in retirement look like to you?
Take some time to consider what that means. Perhaps you absolutely need to check off some big-ticket items like an extended trip to Europe or selling your too-large family house. Or maybe you really need time to relax and recharge by keeping your schedule a bit lighter.
Take out your curious list and see if there are things you want to prioritize right out of the gate. Remember to choose activities that align with your values to give them the most meaning.
A Retirement Plan Free From Regrets
You’ve invested so much time and money to financially prepare for retirement. You owe it to yourself and your loved ones to dedicate the same energy and intention to your retirement lifestyle.
Your retirement should be rich and full and leave you with a true sense of comfort. You don’t want to retire with any regrets or leave anything on the table. Take this time of preparation to explore what makes you curious about yourself and life in general.
Here are some last questions to think about.
- What would you do if you didn’t have to think about money?
- Why would you want to pursue that path?
- How can you take intentional steps to get there today?
We’re passionate about helping you answer these and other questions about your ideal retirement lifestyle.
Grab some time on our calendar today to talk more about building a sustainable, curious life in your golden years.