The 3 x 60 Challenge




So much is written about the post-work bucket list that as you approach retirement, you inevitably feel that you should have one. A tick list of 100 things to see and do before you die. You don't even have to think up your own any more, the Internet is full of them. Glance through them if you will and you quickly get the impression that retirement must be full of adrenalin rushed grandparents throwing themselves out of aeroplanes or climbing Kilimanjaro.

Indeed the eldest recently sent a book to Mister E and me entitled "101 Coolest Things to Do in Great Britain." Now it is a good read and has some, shall we say, "interesting ideas" but for those that hold the most appeal I can honestly say that I've already been there, done them, got the photographs. There are others that wild horses wouldn't drag me to. It may be cool, but somehow Mister E and I attending Bestival is beyond even the most vivid of imaginations.

The problem with trying to buy into somebody else's dream is obviously that it is their dream and not yours. Moreover if any retired person has really adopted or even adapted a 100 item bucket list prepared by somebody else what have they been doing up till now apart from working?  Not to have determined what I really enjoy doing in the first part of my life and knowing from that what I wanted to build on or expand in the next part, would have seemed to me a gross disservice to both my imagination and experience.

Of course most people must land on Planet Retirement with all kinds of plans and good intentions, borrowed or otherwise, but, as this blog has probably charted, life doesn't necessarily follow the pattern proposed. Freedom and flexibility can foster indolence, but how many people ever include in their Must Do List "never rising before 10am"?

Before we retired, we had plans which I carefully documented on this blog (lest I perhaps forget). Ah yes, with reference to my preceding paragraph, a quick refresh would suggest I did plan on occasions to revel in doing nothing! 

Plans can be very different to bucket lists. In our case they were probably better regarded as a statement of intent, rather than a checklist to work through. In so far as we have any inventory of items to tick off, it is unwritten, shifting according to circumstance; a vague, unstructured catalogue or wish list, driven by impetuosity and whims. I prefer it like that. Imagine instead waking every morning knowing that the next item on the list awaits preparation and then conquest. How disappointing never to make it to the end of the list; failure to succeed in retirement. Or perhaps it would even be worse to complete the bucket list, and then be confronted by an abyss. What would follow? Contentment or an empty life?

I'm not proposing that in retirement we should all drift aimlessly, although if that is your preferred option then why not? If a competitive workplace has been your driving force for decades, however, then there may well be an inevitable tendency to look for specific goals and targets in retirement. Perhaps that even explains why the initial starting point is to think in terms of a bucket list.

However, I can well and truly say that, fast approaching my 4th anniversary of retirement, if I ever had a bucket it has now well and truly sprung a leak. Instead and with my big 60th birthday at the end of the current week, I have set myself 3 simple challenges. They are intended to fit in with my lifestyle and initial plans. So as I have previously mentioned  I am going to read 60 books this year (11 already down, 49 to go); I am going to swim 60 times (only 8 sessions to date, 52 to complete) and I intend to visit 60 unfamiliar places (impeded by wintry conditions, I haven't even started). I cannot countenance failure, and if necessary shall spend December swimming from place to place, paperback in hand.


Comments

Tracy Altieri said…
Happy 60th! I like your approach with 60 as your benchmark. I'd have to make mine 62 as of last week. It's easy to think of retirement as the "great race to the end". Fit in as much of everything as you can until - you can't.

While I still have unexpected challenges (an ailing parent is one that seems to challenge many of us in retirement), I am happy to have found a kind of "retirement rhythm". I'm never bored, ever. But - as in my working life, I find that I am relishing those days when I have absolutely nothing on my plate but good food!
Royce Shook said…
Have a wonderful 60th party and your upcoming 5th year of retirement. I have been retired for 12 years and have found as Tracy says "a retirement rhythm" we all do. I love your last sentence "I cannot countenance failure, and if necessary shall spend December swimming from place to place, paperback in hand." I suspect that you will reach your goals sooner than later.
Jane said…
As a retired teacher who planned every minute of every day for years I'm not big on PLANS anymore :) Or goals either. Life has a loose structure - I play volleyball 3x a week, hike 3x a week, try to solve the Friday crossword and so on. My brother and I meet weekly to plan our upcoming trip to Scotland. AND... I am becoming more spontaneous which I LOVE! The sun is shining? I'm going for a bike ride!! Haven't felt so free for about 50 years!
Debra Journet said…
Very interesting and quite timely. Though there is a flaw i tying goals to age. I will be 70 in June and i am struggling to keep up with current goals. I can't imagine upping them each year! 😏
Caree Risover said…
Many Happy Returns to you too
Caree Risover said…
Thank you and I hope so!
Caree Risover said…
Freedom and flexibility - the true joys of retirement
Caree Risover said…
No, I'm not planning that either!

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