Thursday, February 15, 2018

Landing the Plane

At the end of a pre-retirement seminar, a guy in the back of the room, whom I’ll call Bob, raised his hand. He said, “I view retirement as ‘landing the plane’.” He went on to explain that he’s been on a 35-year plane ride and now it’s time to come in for a landing. As the date approaches, the tray tables are to be returned to their upright position. All carry-ons tucked under the seat in front of him or in the overhead compartment. Computers and other electronic devices shut down. 
At first Bob’s description was a little depressing to me—the ride is over. It’s time to be grounded. But that’s not how Bob sees it. He views the plane as a means to get to his next adventure—retirement.

Ironically, just a few days before I met Bob, I’d written a blog post about going from “95 to zero” in a weekend. Bob’s perspective on approaching and preparing for retirement is the opposite of slamming on the brakes. He’s planning psychologically by picturing a plane landing. Maybe he’s doing other things too, such as taking on fewer responsibilities at work, increasing his social network outside of work, and exploring new interests and opportunities. When the captain turns off the seat belt light, Bob will be ready to grab his bags and go.

The plane vision works for Bob. What image will help you visualize the transition from full-time employment to hours of unstructured time and freedom? If you were reading a guidebook about your next destination, what would it be? Perhaps the title would be “Going from Success to Significance” or “Moving Toward What You Value.” If so, what can you do now to prepare for a smooth landing?

By imagining how you want to live this next stage of your life, you’ll have a greater sense of direction and purpose. You’ll have your bags packed and be ready to arrive.

Copyright 2018. Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.

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