If only we had more time, just imagine the things we could do! We'd spend all day in the garden, the workshop or the studio. We'd sit on the porch, read the paper and listen to the birds while sipping a hot cup of tea. Life would be great!
Or would it? Would we actually get around to doing all those things? Would we even enjoy them as much as we think we would? Maybe, but also, maybe not.
Along much the same lines as giving potential hobbies a trial run before breaking the bank on supplies, it can be useful to try potential retirement pastimes before you actually retire. Why? We're not always very good at predicting what will make us happy.
We might think we'd love gardening. Then, when we discover that it can be rather difficult to get things to grow when and where we want them, we might realize that we don't enjoy it as much as we thought we would. The same goes for other possible retirement activities: painting, writing, traveling, etc.
Of course you might think, as I sometimes do, why bother? After all, we'll be retired and we can do something else instead, right? Yes, that's true. Except that it can be a bit disappointing when you realize retirement isn't going to be what you were hoping it would be.
When you are working at a job that you don't really enjoy, saving for a retirement that is many years away, our dreams about retirement can be a big source of inspiration. The problem is, as we dwell on our thoughts of a blissful life after work, we tend to build up our mental image of retired life into something that's a bit too idyllic. We end up putting our dreams on such high pedestals that there is very little chance of them meeting our expectations when we get there.
Besides, if we think we'll enjoy an activity upon retiring, then there is a good chance that we'll get some enjoyment out of dabbling with it today as well.
I've got a picture in my head of me spending my retirement working on making a beautiful garden. Stone walls, walkways, decorative aqueducts, and of course a wide variety of trees and plants. Of course, I've only ever done a bit of gardening and landscaping in my life. So I'm not really sure what my dream life will end up being in reality.
So this year I'm going to give gardening a shot. There are a few small projects that I've got in mind for our little patch of land in the city. I probably won't end up with anything near what I'd like as a garden, but I plan to get a better appreciation of what will be involved. If nothing else, I should end up with a slightly more realistic retirement dream so that I won't be disappointed when I finally do retire.
If your retirement dream just happens to be something you can make a bit of money doing, and you've got some investment income already coming it, then you could jump right into partial retirement as well!
Dreaming is wonderful, but true joy is in the doing!