Most of us are familiar with the popular song from The Sound of Music: “My Favorite Things.” As the lyrics state—raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens—it is the little things in life that can bring us joy and satisfaction.
These favorite things are also a great place to look for an answer to “What will I do all day?” When we know what delights us, we can use this awareness to make the most of the extra time we have in retirement. Time spent doing our favorite things is a great way to add meaning, direction, and enjoyment to the extra hours we have when we’re not going into the office everyday.
One of my favorite things to do is bake cookies—big cookies. When my children were young, I often had to bake cookies for their class parties. Baking cookies was one more task I had to squeeze into my day, usually after the kids had gone to bed.
Now that I have more time and fewer commitments, I can enjoy the process of baking. I take my time. It is the experience of measuring, mixing, and smelling the freshly baked cookies that I take pleasure in—I’m not rushing through the process just to get it done. This is where the mindset in retirement is different.
What are some of your favorite things? Write them down. Consider what it is about each experience that delights you.
Next, consider how you can delight in this “favorite” even more. I call it selling up. For example, after baking cookies on a rainy Sunday afternoon, I packaged them in brown paper packages tied up with string (I’m not kidding!) Then my husband and I delivered them to elderly friends in the nursing home. My favorite thing, baking cookies, became the favorite part of the day for several other people. I know that many of them didn’t “feel so bad” after our visit. Favorite things have a way of doing that.
To get the most out of your favorites, let yourself get totally immersed in the experience. Multiply your joy by seeking out others to enjoy the experience. And think about ways that you can sell-up your list of favorites. I can almost guarantee that on a day when the bee stings and you’re feeling sad, after doing one of your favorite things you won’t feel so bad.
Copyright 2019. Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.