Finishing-Will Retirement clinch your legacy?

Cover of "Taking Action"
Cover of Taking Action

Do you have a retirement mission?

My retirement so far is ready, fire, aim.  I know where I want to go; need to go.  I just don’t know how to get there.  My activity here at RCB is helping me find clear direction and take action.  I don’t like today’s post.  It isn’t engaging because I just don’t have that ability just now.  I wish it were better.  I wish I knew answers instead of just questions.  I wish I could suggest a program to follow the numbers and wrap up my life (or yours) with a bow and a flourish. I am making it up as I go.  I do, at least, have a mission.   Today many people retire without a mission and without a mission they leave the world unnoticed.  That is a tragedy.  So read today’s post with charity.  Make an effort to understand what I am struggling to say.  I think the message is important and I don’t think it is one that you normally hear.  There are very few role models to follow and no step by step program.  I won’t have a successful retirement (and life) if I don’t clean up all the messes I have made up to this point.  That may not sound like much of a mission but it is more than most people have.   I’m looking for inspiration and others with a mission and I hope they will be looking for me too.  I’ll be sharing my efforts, failures and successes and I want to hear yours.

There is no second chance at retirement.

Retirement is your last chance to matter. We usually associate retirement with taking it easy and enjoying yourself. Now you have the time to do things you were too busy for until now. Some of those things are fun but others are less pleasant. There are loose ends to resolve as well as fun. It is easy to focus on the fun and avoid the rest. There are many excuses. You have limited resources. Time is limited. Your abilities are waning. But you can’t avoid reality. There isn’t a next phase – at least in this life . Everything you leave unresolved when you die is your legacy. Is that how you want to be remembered?

The loose ends I am talking about that are easy to let slide all involve people; building and maintaining relationships, repairing rifts that keep you separated from friends and family and leaving a legacy of positive memories to keep you with the living when you are dead. When your life is over, these are measures of living a full and complete life.

It’s always easy to have fun.

The pleasure is usually easy to make time for. Play golf or go fishing. Do more reading or traveling. These are well earned pleasures and are an important part of making a good retirement. In themselves there is nothing wrong with doing things that you enjoy but is that what you want remembered when you are gone? Ralph Carlson played a good game of golf! Is that enough for you?

It is not so easy to make a difference.

I want more than that. Filling my days with enjoyable activities is fine so long as I remember my mission in life. I don’t believe that we live our lives only for enjoyment. I think we have a mission to leave the world better in some way, however small. That is why I get up each morning.  To make an impact on people. To raise strong children. To help people that need a hand. To be a support and inspiration to family and friends.If I die without impact then I fail.

But wait! How do I do this?

Now comes the point where I am supposed to give you the answer: the secret to a fulfilled life. I don’t have it. I’m struggling to clean up the mess I have made so far. It isn’t easy and often it isn’t pleasant. This is why it is so easy to do the enjoyable things and put off finishing our lives. I don’t know how to repair the relationships I have damaged during my life so far. I don’t know how to truly help the needy. Any action I take is sure to make a bigger mess before I can hope to make it better. But I have to try. I don’t have another chance later. This is all the time I have and it is going fast. All I know for sure is that my life is a mission and I I don’t have it right yet..

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{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Heather October 18, 2010, 10:14 am

    I think because you recognise what you want to do you’re already on your way.

    This is a theme that a lot of people can relate to (me included, even though I’m just barely in my 20s); wanting to make a difference but not knowing how. When I look at it, I ignore the how and focus on the what and why;

    Not much easier but those questions are ones I have a hope of answering – starting points.

  • Ralph October 18, 2010, 10:30 am

    I guess one way to look at it as a twenty something is that you can try not to make so many messes that you will have to clean up later. On the other hand, much of what I learned came from making messes. Like I say. Don’t look to me for answers.

  • Bob @ October 18, 2010, 11:43 am

    This is going to be a criptic Doolin-like answer, but…KISS.

  • Ralph October 18, 2010, 12:02 pm

    Aww Bob,
    I didn’t know you cared.

  • Heather October 19, 2010, 10:22 am

    Honestly, even just getting to 20 I have a few to clean up! Bonus to that is I have some time I guess.

    How about I just don’t make more messes than I can clean up? 😉
    Heather’s last Blog Post ..5th Life Crisis Cutting to the end

  • Ralph October 19, 2010, 11:22 am

    Maybe the trick is to keep making messes but to clean them up sooner than later.

  • Heather October 20, 2010, 11:19 am

    Let’s go with that one 😉
    Heather’s last Blog Post ..5th Life Crisis Cutting to the end

    • Ralph October 20, 2010, 1:49 pm

      Looks like a winner to me.

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