With school about to be let out for another year, I was reflecting on my summers as a youngster and how that time was like approaching and transitioning into retirement.

Life was different when I was a youth. When school was let out for the summer and the highly anticipated day was finally here, I was free to do whatever I wanted for the entire summer, and boy did I have plans! This free time included fishing with my dad, playing baseball, swimming at the local pool, riding my bike everywhere. There were always a few chores to help around the house and yard, but there was no getting up early for school, and nothing scheduled except little league games and swimming lessons.

For most of the summer, I was gone from morning to evening doing each of the things I had planned to do. There were also impromptu things a group of neighborhood kids would decide to do- like pretending we were dirt-bike racers riding on a trail that had a mud puddle from the previous evening’s rain, exploring in the woods, climbing my friend’s giant oak tree, playing “night games” or playing basketball, kickball or baseball behind school.

The summer always seemed to go fast and there was usually something to keep me busy. My friends and I kept ourselves busy by thinking of things we liked to do and wanted to do or try. Or, we came up with something to do that someone in the group wanted to do. If we were ever bored, our parents would say “Find something to do or I will find something for you to do!”

Today, most kids summer schedules are planned around the many activities that have been signed up for- usually by their parents to keep them busy and occupied. There are lots of options for things to do, but not much of what the kids do now involves figuring out what to do on their own or is time spent exploring on their own and finding things to do.

Retirement is a lot like being a kid when we were growing up. You look forward to it for a long time, the time is all yours to decide what to do, you have a lot of time to spend with your friends, and it can be a lot of fun if you have things you look forward to doing or trying. Some things were scheduled during this time, but it was also a time for exploration- for figuring out what you liked to spend time doing.

When school started again in the fall, teachers would often have us write about the best part of our summer or write about what you did over the summer. Some kids had a lot to write about while others had little to write about, mostly because they had not planned what they wanted to do or explored to try new things- and, as a result had a boring summer.

As you think about your retirement, remember you are responsible for filling each of the hours in your day- week after week, year after year- sort of like an extended summer break when you were a kid! Does retirement excite you like it did when you were younger and were about to be done with school for the summer? Or does it scare you a little bit not knowing what to expect during this time? Are you looking forward to doing things you have set aside or have always wanted to try? Do you have friends to share this time with?

With proper planning, you can create a retirement that is filled with as much excitement and adventure as when you were younger and summer was a time of freedom.

If you need help with ideas to help plan your time in retirement, I would be glad to assist. You can reach me at 952-994-8937 or reid@mylifesencore.com.