I’ll admit to jealousy when I saw it. A friend, who is my age, was announcing on Facebook he was retiring at the end of the month. And, what made this feeling more intense…two other friends had recently done the same thing.
To be clear, I love doing morning radio and the station I work for. This is what I wanted to do all the way back in 7th grade. It was my dream job then and I’m still living the dream. More importantly, I love the people I get to do this with.
But, I also have a hunger for the freedom retirement represents. I’m not alone. Isn’t this really the ultimate appeal of retirement? Freedom to do what you want, go where you want, and sleep as late as you want. Who doesn’t want that?
I’m most looking forward to the freedom to schedule my time. I was talking recently with a new friend, who is a long way from retirement, but has a lot of flexibility with his work schedule and location. He told me he can work from home or, if he feels like it one morning, find a coffee shop along Baltimore’s Harbor and work there. That’s the kind of freedom that is most appealing to me right now.
I would make the same career decision again. I love the magic of morning radio and would not change a thing. But, every job has a downside (or two) and mine is no different. I have no schedule flexibility. I have to be at the same place at the same time every day. I can’t choose to go in late or work from a hip urban coffee shop. That’s probably why “schedule freedom” is so appealing to me.
Anyhow, my newly retired friends have that now and whatever other freedoms they were personally looking forward to. I trust they are enjoying them. They worked hard for many years, investing their resources, so this day would come sooner than it does for most. I’m certain they dreamed about it and made sacrifices along the way.
Most retirement planning is focused on the money. And, that makes sense. After all, you can’t stop working until you have the financial thing all worked out. There’s also a growing conversation about purpose in retirement. We can become so focused on what we are leaving that we fail to think about what we are going to do with all this freedom.
I love the beach and would love to spend time there without any thought of leaving. I also understand myself well enough that if that was the entirety of my retirement plan I’d be ready to head back to work after a handful of weeks. I need something more meaningful to do than just that. We all do.
But, there’s another aspect of retirement planning that seems to be ignored. And, I believe it’s the most important freedom for those post-work years, even decades. It’s more important than financial freedom, schedule freedom, freedom to travel, or any other freedom you’re longing for.
It’s health freedom.
I remember my grandparents saying, “If you’ve got your health you’ve got everything!” I didn’t really have the life experience then to fully appreciate what they meant. Now that I’m approaching that season myself, I get it.
I don’t want to work hard, save my money, and plan for retirement only to reach the target and not be healthy and fit enough to enjoy it. Yet, I see so many people approaching their retirement years with little or no intentional fitness activities. Why? What are they thinking?
My guess is many are thinking once they retire they’ll have more time for exercise. The problem with that thinking is the longer you wait the harder it is. And, after you’ve worked hard for decades are you really going to be motivated to jump right into another hoard thing. That’s why it’s important to get started NOW!
Health freedom has other benefits too. It also saves you money and time. Healthy people don’t spend as much on doctors and medicine. They also don’t spend as much time running from one health care appointment to another.
A successful retirement needs to you to be well funded, purposeful, and healthy. All three require intentionality and planning before your final day of work.
If you struggle with motivation to stick with fitness this blog will help. Don’t be intimated by the title. That’s my goal…not yours. But, my bigger goal is to help you start a fitness journey that has doesn’t stop and builds momentum. If you click FOLLOW (below on your phone and to the right and above on your computer) you’ll get an email with a link to each motivating article the moment it’s published.