…And what to my wondering eyes should appear?
When we picture being filled with awe and wonder, we often pull up the image of a child in our minds. What if we made it an active pursuit throughout life?
Think of how a moment or sight can take your breath away, even for an instant. Your mind may be set in motion assimilating how such a thing came to be. A snowflake, a child at play, the night sky, an amazing new technology, or the glint in the eye of a loved one all have the ability to fill us with surprise and marvel. We can have moments like that daily. It's there for the taking, if we intentionally choose it.
Being captivated may point us in a new direction toward an interest, person, insight, or lifestyle and change up our life going forward. How often do you take the time and let yourself go there? It turns out that simply just letting ourselves be in that space of wonder for its own sake has health benefits, too!
A feeling of surprised or puzzled interest, sometimes tinged with admiration;
or even a miraculous deed or event; to marvel.
An overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, fear, etc.
produced by that which is grand, sublime, or extremely powerful.
Awe and wonder can be shared emotions that promote community or connection, either with other people or with nature. Research shows it helps us let go of our individual focus and situation and see we are part of something bigger. Spending time in awe and wonder helps us express feelings of oneness with others and makes us more generous with one another according to Van Cappelin and Saroglou.
More to Life is all about pondering, planning and living the next great chapter of your life in retirement. For some folks, that is about slowing down and enjoying life and spending more time with family. Others see it as a time for climbing new peaks, finally doing something they’ve always wanted, or starting on a whole new passion or career (unretiring). Regardless of the shape, More to Life is always about more meaning and joy and health for your life.
True Retirement Planning
When you google ‘retirement planning’, you’ll find the first several pages of hits will be about financial planning. But where and how are we planning what we deeply want to do so we know how much money that will or won’t require? Why do we let money dictate what we can do rather than vice versa?
This is true retirement planning: What do you want for your life every day? What’s undone that’s calling out to you? How do you reshape your life after you’ve given it all to your career? How and when do you make your exit? Where do you find community? How do you stay well, get healthier, or make the most of the health you have? What can you plan now for later stages of retirement?
A Rich and Fascinating Stage of Life
This stage of life has been a fascination for me for more than 30 years. My parents’ generation (born in the earlier 20th century) wrestled with what to do in retirement. Many found they were living longer and in better health than prior generations. There was no model for what to do with what had, prior to that, been a rather brief stage of life. I witnessed many people, my father among them, go through the motions of each day without much purpose or anything that lit them up. I’ve seen the health toll of that. I’ve also witnessed others, my mother among them, begin to take on a whole new set of interests and the new dimensions that developed out of that. How do you want this next chapter to be for you?
Today, we assume most of us will have more retirement years. Some of us fall into these years quite naturally. My friend, Maxine, can hardly wait to get out of bed each morning because every day is so juicy. Others of us lose our footing, at least for a time, because so much of our identity and energy and friendships were tied up in our career. Some of us wake up one day after doing all the things we’ve wanted to do for a couple of years, and are now hungry for something else that puts more purpose in our days.
How Did I End Up Here?
I have spent much of my life working in health care, starting out in and loving geriatrics. It inspired me to begin working upstream, becoming more focused on healthy and preventive living earlier in life as a means to an end. I have also worked with organizational and personal strategy and transition for 25 years.
Retirement (or unretirement) transition is the perfect confluence of passions for me. The More to Life process combines moving through a major transition and aligning what’s important to you with healthy living. And doing what we love and is important to us is one of the best health practices we can take on at this or any stage!
This Meanderings blog space will focus on planning, transitioning, resetting course, and healthy living in retirement—if we will even call it retirement. I like to ask the question, “How do we live in alignment with what is important to us as a means to a healthier life?”
I look forward to covering lots of rich territory with you in this space, whether you are retired or musing about retirement. Many of these topics will touch you even if you aren’t at that stage yet—because new beginnings come at every age.
Leave a comment. I'd love to hear from you.
Share your reflections on retirement transition. Where and how have you struggled or been thriving in planning or living retirement? What has been your biggest discovery so far? What are you looking forward to?
There's More to Life.
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Ruth Tongen helps people plan and live meaningful, fun and healthier retirements.