Friday, January 22, 2016

Before and After

The cover story on the current issue of Traditional Home magazine grabbed my attention so naturally I started thinking about how it relates to retirement.

"Before and After: 43 rooms reimagined for better living"

Reimagining our lives in retirement is a popular notion. In fact, AARP sponsors an entire program and popular book titled "Life Reimagined." If we believe what we read, it seems like everyone is reinventing themselves in retirement—amazing success stories about moving to the country, raising sheep, and selling organic cheese. Ah…such romanticized images of going from a harried corporate life to walking the hillside with your Old English sheep dog running alongside you. 

Sounds amazing, but if your "new life" doesn't look like this, keep reading, neither does mine—and not for lack of trying.  It turns out that changing life direction is not as easy as the magazine stories would have us believe. In fact, they may be part of the problem.

According to Marc Freedman, author of The Big Shift, "From my conversations over the years, I've become convinced that the whole reinvention fantasy is part of the problem, that it constitutes an unrealistic expectation that only makes the fitful and usually murky process of transition to a new period of life all the more daunting—and contributes to a sense of failure if one falls short of achieving magical transformation, in short order."

So instead of completely reinventing ourselves, what if we narrowed the focus to reimagining better living? The home magazine's Before and After story didn't require tearing down supporting walls. Instead, small changes contributed to better living—a fresh pop of color, better organization, and more interesting furniture layouts.

Consider what will contribute to your better living. Pretend a magazine editor has asked you to write an article and submit pictures about how you created a "Better Living" in retirement. Write an outline for your story. Imagine the pictures that you'll submit for the article. List the steps you need to take to bring this story to life. Approach this exercise with curiosity to expand your options, courage to give you hope, and a commitment to keep your vision alive.

Next month I'll write a blog article on my better living story—complete with before and after pictures! I'd love for you to submit your stories, and with your permission I'll include them in future blog articles.

Copyright 2016 Patrice Jenkins, All Rights Reserved