Friday, September 16, 2016

Default or Design

As you're leaving Starbucks a researcher approaches you and asks, "Would you describe your life as living-by-design or living-by-default?" The question takes you by surprise. Before you retired, there wasn't much time, or much use, in thinking about this philosophical question. Mostly you had to show up to work each day and get the job done—preferably by yesterday!

But now that you're retired, the question of design or default has everything to do with the satisfaction and happiness you experience in this next stage of life. According to the MacMillan Dictionary, "if something happens by default, it happens only because someone does not do something else." Default is an automatic selection in the absence of a choice made by the user (Merriam-Webster).

In retirement it's easy to get caught up in the web of living by default. If we don't decide and commit to what we want, others will choose for us—it's the default option. In my opinion, living by default is lazy living. Lazy living is easy—easier than intentional living. And yet, happiness comes from putting forth the effort to live by design.

How do you live by design? Start with being deliberate and purposeful about how you invest your time. Decide what you really want in life. Make a list of what matters most to you. Commit to something. Put yourself on the hook. Be accountable to yourself. Think big. Your life depends on it.

In the end, it's your life. Don't be absent. Show up. Now is the time to make deliberate choices. Default is not good enough.

"That's the bell I keep ringing, to live a bigger and broader life. The smaller your life gets, the smaller your mind gets."                                                                                      —Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love

Copyright 2016. Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.