Monday, February 27, 2012

Living Your Dreams in Retirement

     Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.  Live the life you have imagined.
                                                                              - Henry David Thoreau

What did you want to be when you grew up? What were your dreams for your future?  So many of us were told that our dreams weren't reasonable.  We had to chose a profession that would allow us to earn enough money to support a family.  Or our parents didn't have enough money to send us to college, so we'd better find something we could do without an education. Or maybe circumstances conspired to stop us before we could fulfill our dreams.  Although the above quotation from Thoreau has always been my favorite, the one below more accurately describes my life...

     None of us can help the things life has done to us.  They're done before you realize it, and once they're done they make you do other things until at last everything comes between you and what you'd like to be, and you've lost your true self forever.
                                                            - Eugene O'Neill, Long Day's Journey into Night

Our dreams change all the time.  You probably had one goal as a kid - ballerina? fireman? astronaut? - another as a teen - rock star? artist? - and maybe another as a young adult - doctor? lawyer? novelist? Were you able to follow your dream or did something come along to get in your way?  Maybe an illness, a death on the family, or an accident?  Unplanned pregnancy? There are so many possiblities.

But a wonderful thing happens when you retire because you no longer need to earn a living.  You are now free to do whatever you want.  I doubt you want to start over with a long education and training, but what about volunteering in the area of your dreams?  Frustrated teachers can volunteer at a local school, lead a scout troop, or teach English as a second language.  While you wouldn't be practising medicine, hospitals and clinics often have volunteer positions available.  What could you do to make life more comfortable for the guys around the firehouse or police station?  Could you help teachers out with a presentation on space travel to a classroom full of children?

Other dream vocations are still a possibility.  Write that novel. Take music lessons or start a rock band. It's never too late to become an artist. Community colleges offer classes in drawing and painting.  Don't worry if you're not good enough to sell your work.  Just enjoy yourself.

So think about it.  Remember your dreams and live that life you imagined . Find your true self again. You might be surprised what you can still achieve and how much fun you'll have along the way.

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