A Story About Working For Fun
How FUN got me off my butt
I kind of like “Working for FUN” as a retirement theme. People look forward to retirement because they think it means they can stop working. I look at it differently. I think (and studies bear me out) that if you stop working, you start rotting - you know, sitting on the couch eating bon bons and letting life fade into the distance. And then you die - probably an early death, but certainly a boring one. In my opinion, the great thing about retirement isn’t that you stop working. It’s that you start working for the FUN of it! I’m not talking about a career, here. It can be working toward a new purpose, or goal, or fitness level or volunteer role, or being more connected, or whatever grabs you, so long as there is forward progress and a touch of challenge. Nice.
I have learned this lesson, yet again, this past holiday season. I kind of let inertia take over and, with the nasty weather we’ve been having, and the almost-constant barrage of food, beverage and reasons to sit on my butt, I have landed face down in the cheese dip more times than I care to admit. And, most days I’ve watched the stormy weather from my leather chair by the window… all damn day…. The only thing I’ve been working toward is a heart attack.
Though the wellness train is sitting at my doorstep just waiting for me to get back on, I can’t seem to find my luggage - or maybe I have too much baggage - so I just let it sit there. What to do?
Remember the theme of retirement, that’s what! Working for FUN! That was just what I needed. My friend and I put a snowshoe tour in Tahoe on the schedule for later this month. Aha! Now, I have to get back to my fitness stuff or risk looking like a dope, sitting in the snow, huffing and puffing after five steps watching them trek off into the distance. Nope! Not me. I’m hitting the elliptical pretty much every day now so I can have my fun in a few weeks.
Then, in March I have agreed with my son to do the Tri-Tip Challenge. It’s a hike in San Luis Obispo that encompasses hiking 3 peaks and one of them, Bishop’s Peak, is no joke! It’s about 10 miles of up and down and then, off to Firestone Grill for a tri-tip sandwich to celebrate. So, after snowshoeing, I can’t let up. There’s no way I’m letting my son finish that hike without me right there by his side. I’d never hear the end of it. So, I’ll stay on that wellness train to be ready for the Tri-Tip.
After that, I have a half marathon walk, and then a yoga retreat in Puerta Vallarta and then maybe an inn to inn hike in my sights. I’ll be working for fun for most of the rest of the year! Perfect.
Not into hiking? No problem. There are lots of goals you can put out there and then work toward. How about signing up to be a Little League coach this spring/summer? You’ll need plenty of aerobic fitness (and patience) for that. Or, one of my friends books a trip for her and her grandson to Disneyland for her goal. You’d better be ready to walk 4 or 5 or more miles a day every day you’re there if you’re going to chase a grandkid around Disneyland. There are lots of non-fitness goals that can work, as well, if you have different FUN in mind. Need more connections? Book a table for 6 at a restaurant you’ve always wanted to visit, and then go about inviting 5 friends to go with you. Maybe you want to go on a cruise, but you don’t have the dough. Book the cruise for next year and then start a budgeting routine. Is it new skills you’re after? Sign up with a charity to be a part time social media ambassador starting in a few months, and then learn a few social media platforms. Whatever looks like FUN to you, book it! And then go about working your way toward that goal.
If you’re not retired, these goals can work wonders for your retirement lifestyle planning. You’re probably finding that, as you get older, the kids can take care of themselves and/or that the boss doesn’t seem to be able to take care of him/herself. Draw some boundaries now and figure out a goal to work toward for yourself. Put it out there and make it clear to yourself and others that it is a priority. Then, work your way toward it. This, my friends, will be an amazing bridge to your Rockin’ Third Act once you retire. You will have built some skills, or friendships, or muscles with these goals. In retirement, you’ll get to use ‘em!
That’s my story of how I’m working for FUN! What’s yours? Let us know in the comments!
For those of you in the greater Sacramento area, I will be teaching my Rockin’ The Third Act workshop at the Sierra College extension in Roseville in April. I’d love to meet you!