Retire Slowly: Plan your Weeks Wisely

This isn’t another retirement planning post suggesting that you map out each week to maximize your calendar and to-do list.

Rather, if retiring by degrees is on your horizon, this is a post to remind you of the bigger picture.  To visualize and plan ALL your weeks wisely so you can make the most of your time doing things that are important to you.

In his excellent book, “Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals,” Oliver Burkeman points out the obvious truth from the title.  If we live an average life span of around 77 years then we each get roughly 4000 weeks of time here on planet earth.

But from a career retirement perspective, here’s the thing.  When you turn 60 you only have about 880 of those 4000 weeks remaining!

Most of us have a long list of places we’ve been and things we’ve experienced.  But we also have perhaps an even longer list of things we’d like to experience and places we’d like to visit.  Retiring slowly over time frees up space for us – space to both think about and plan and prioritize the list and blocks of time to be able to begin. 

I’ve heard from others that the years of retirement can ‘slip by’ quickly.  Those weeks you have left to spend pass by and become months which become years.

So plan that trip with a family member you’ve been postponing, take that hike, make that pilgrimage, take that class, learn that instrument or language…or do whatever interests you.  Start planning how to make time available for what’s important and then scheduling on your calendar.  You don’t know how many weeks you’ll have so spend them wisely.

Not to be too morbid or anything, but I thought the quote below was fitting.  The Swiss writer and philosopher Pascal Mercier left us some very insightful writing, and I thought this line captured the essence of “getting going” – to best use the time we have available to us!

“So, the fear of death might be described as the fear of not being able to become whom one had planned to be.” 

[Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon]

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