Thursday, June 23, 2016

Time Affluence

A friend asked, "I know you're so busy, but would you weed for a couple hours at the town park?" When I learned that I would be weeding alone, I responded, "I'm not so busy, but I prefer to volunteer for group activities."

There. I said it. I spoke the unspeakable. "I'm not so busy."

In retirement we go from not having enough time to having an abundance of time. We go from time poverty to time affluence. And yet, instead of celebrating our newfound wealth, many of us hide behind a fa├žade of being "so busy." It's hard to break free from the belief that busyness equates with value and significance. If we're not busy, are we still important? 

In the book Happier, Tal Ben-Shahar defines time affluence as "the feeling that one has sufficient time to pursue activities that are personally meaningful, to reflect, to engage in leisure." Compare this to time poverty, "the feeling that one is constantly stressed, rushed, overworked, and behind." Being time-rich is good for our health.

To make the most of your new prosperity, apply the AAAAA principles.

Admit that you have time.
Appreciate your new time affluence.
Avoid the pressure to fill up time with busyness.
Avail yourself to opportunities that come along because you're not too busy.
Acknowledge your significance, busy or not.

Copyright 2016 Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Supporting Wall Syndrome

I can spend hours watching my favorite shows on the Home and Garden Network (HGTV). Seduced by the Before and After pictures of home renovations, I am mesmerized by the magical transformations limited only by one's creative imagination. What's more, I am equally drawn to the designers' approach to their work.

Early in the renovation process designers address the challenges that get in the way of their master plan, such as a weight-bearing wall or ductwork that interrupts the flow of an open-concept floor plan. Somehow, along with the homeowners, they find a way to move obstacles and redirect financial resources so the final outcome is not compromised.

In some ways, I am a designer—helping people renovate their next stage of life. But unlike home designers, I find that people have an opposite approach to their work. Clients often start with reasons why they can't do something, and then attempt to build a lifestyle that fits into this limited plan. 

I call this the "Supporting Wall Syndrome." 

Earlier this week I had a discussion with my brother-in-law about supporting walls. I said, "I'm thinking about removing a wall that blocks my view of the Catskill Mountains." Richard responded, "That's a supporting wall. You're not moving that." I said they do it all the time on HGTV. 

Although Richard knows a lot more than I do about home renovations, I'm not so sure the wall is bearing the weight of the room. There is a post in another area so the wall blocking my view may be easy to remove. The point is that assumptions are not always fact. Check them out. Not only check them out, but also question them. "So it is a supporting wall, then what are my options?"

When designing your retirement lifestyle, start with an attitude of possibility. If you believe you can't do something, check to see if you're falling prey to the supporting wall syndrome. Then don't be afraid to ask, "What would it take to move the wall?"

Copyright 2016 Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.