Many of us recognize that we are going to have an end point in, our academic education, sport, being responsible for our kids, career, etc. Unfortunately, few of us plan what we’re going to do, throughout and after that end point. More importantly, many of us don’t have a plan in place to take care of ourselves so that we can even enjoy the transition period and the next chapter in our lives.
You may have experienced, or at the very least, heard about,
- Not knowing what to do once you’ve graduated
- Not knowing what to do after you’ve retired from a sport
- Not knowing what to do after you discovered that you don’t like your job
- Not knowing what to do after your kids move out
- Feeling lost as you approach age milestones (often but not always, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60 years old)
- And, not knowing what to do after you retire.
You’re aware these days will come and you may think,
- I’m going to get my dream job.
- I’m going to become a coach.
- I have no clue what I want to do or how I’ll figure it out.
- I’ve been looking forward to this day but now that it’s here, I don’t know what I’m going to do with all my time. *Another challenge that comes up as kids get older, is that parents sometimes lose touch with who they are because, they neglect their needs because, they feel they need to invest all their time in their kids.
- Who am I and what have I been doing with my life?
- And, I’m going to travel when I retire.
All too often there is a fleeting thought that the transition period will come one day, but no further thought goes into preparing for that time. I often hear, "I need to focus on this now, I'll deal with that when it gets here." Unfortunately, with that mindset, when that day comes (expected or unexpected), often the reaction ends up being, "Oh shit! What am I going to do now? All I know is (school/sport/being a parent/my job/etc.)."
When planning ahead for your next chapter, start with the following steps,
1. What do you want?
2. Why do you want it? Is that what you truly want? Or, do you just think that's what you want, because it sounds good and you want to impress your parents, partner, and/or friends?
3. What do you need to be able to have it?
4. Who can help you?
5. What do you need to do, to be able to enjoy it when you do get it?
6. Create an plan.
7. Perform the actions that will allow you to have a relatively smooth transition period into the next chapter of your life.
Change is hard BUT, we can make it easier for ourselves. The sooner you start to develop your plan, the less pressure there is as you approach the transition period. You can focus on your performance in, school, sport, your life, and your career opposed to stressing out about upcoming uncertainties. When you have a plan and when you can anticipate (within reason) the transition period, you can claim the control in those situations instead of your emotions taking over.
Beginnings are usually scary and endings are usually sad, but IT'S EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN THAT MAKES IT ALL WORTH LIVING. ~Leighn L.
MOST IMPORTANT: SELF CARE! If, for example, you are planning to travel when you retire, are you taking care of yourself so that you will be able to,
1. Go on the trip.
2. Physically be able to do all that you want to do.
3. Enjoy the trip opposed to being stressed about everything else that is going on in your life or what you’re going to (or "have to") do when you get home.
If you push your body to the extreme all the time, if you are constantly running below empty, you won’t enjoy the time you’ve worked so hard for. In that case, what’s the point??? Working a job you may or may not like, feeling tired, frustrated, and worn out all the time, only to end up, not being able to enjoy life.
Do you want to wake up feeling energized and ready to take on the world?
If you have kids and grand-kids, do you want to be able to play with them?
If you want to travel, do you want to be able to see the sights and keep up with your family?
Self care improves ALL aspects of your life. It is simple, but NOT easy. If you practice self care, if you make tentative plans for the transitions in your life, tentative plans for what you'd like to do and how you’d like to spend that time- there will be less stress in your life, and once you arrive to those moments, you will actually be able to APPRECIATE those moments. Also, emphasis on "tentative" to allow the plans to be fluid, in case it’s not exactly how you’d thought it should be, you can still enjoy yourself.
* Do NOT wait to live your life. You never know what life is going to bring. Enjoy life while you know you can. If you want to travel, plan to travel, even if that is once every 5-10 years. I’ve seen and heard of too many people that wanted to travel after they retired but by the time they retired they had poor health and/or other physical limitations that prevented them from travelling. If you want a specific job, make sure you have the education required and always continue to network (build relationships). You never know who will help you, when. RELATIONSHIPS are the MOST VALUABLE thing you have, next to your health!
NEVER allow waiting to become a habit. LIVE YOUR DREAMS and TAKE RISKS. LIFE IS HAPPENING NOW. ~ Paulo Coelho
* You have unlimited potential, what you CHOOSE to do with that potential is your choice! Give yourself PERMISSION to LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE!