Until society and Hollywood gets with the program, it is up to us as women to blaze our own trail. To not accept these images that have been put forth showing us downshifting in life and caring more about how we will live during retirement, than in the present. It never ceases to amaze me how some of us get more excited about the kind of lifestyle we will have in our golden years than the ones that are staring us in the face.
I believe that the status quo has us programmed. Work like a dog, invest like a maniac and when you turn 65 finally exhale and take a cruise around Europe. This is crazy! How did we get convinced that this was how we should conduct ourselves? Don’t take this to sound like I am just going to blow all of my money and live like a pauper in my senior years. Absolutely not! But I am living my best life NOW and GOD willing will be able to live it until I die. I am not waiting to live. I am not waiting to cruise, take vacations, enjoy the natural wonders of the world or go on an adventure. Miss Linda is doing that in the present. I don’t know what shape I am going to be in at 65. Do you? No one does! So make your best life your now life. Not your later life.
Now for some of you, this is really a totally radical notion. This is because retirement has been glorified to mean everyday that you wake up will be in a fantasy land where butterflies and unicorns roam freely. Not to say that this can’t be your reality (minus the unicorns), but the odds are that you may have to get a part time job at some point in your retirement. Or have to live very frugally if you don’t want to.
The bottom line is, regardless of whether you have enough money to last you throughout your whole retirement or not, you don’t have to go along with the status quo. You get to march to your own drumbeat and decide what retirement means to YOU. Not what anyone else has decided the definition should be.
As you ease on up Midlife Mountain, continue to be vibrant and vivacious. What is it that you really want to do? What would you do if money wasn’t an issue? What would you do if the status quo hadn’t defined you? I know that last question is a bit much, but it is important that we acknowledge the elephant in the room. Don’t downshift your life. I think we do this in part because we are facing our mortality. At 21, you are not thinking about mortality. But at 51, you start to realize that there is a thing called the bucket list. Make sure to fill your bucket with memories, trips, experiences and love!