The excitement of anticipation before a big event can really boost your mood. For example, the early stages of vacation planning and the anticipation of your trip have been shown to provide as much happiness as the actual trip itself (https://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/11/travel/what-a-great-trip-and-im-not-even-there-yet.html).
Anticipating a vacation allows us to contemplate the wonderful exploration we’ll do and the sights we’ll see – without actually having to put up with busy airports and travel fatigue.
The only thing that’s required is to have a destination in mind, some travel resources to aid with visualization, and a good imagination.
Retirement planning doesn’t always fall into the category of “fun and exciting,” but it can. If you set aside the financial planning aspects, the health insurance, when to claim your Social Security benefits, etc. you can revel in some good old anticipation.
Create some space and quiet time this week to think about your retirement. What does your work and career culminating in retirement mean to you? I’ve spent more time thinking about this over the past year and have shared my thoughts in this blog.
Obviously from my writing, I think of my retirement in stages, not as an on/off switch. I think of these ramp-down stages as opportunities for exploration of what full retirement will be like.
Recently I’ve started to catalog the specific activities I’d like to pursue in my semi-retirement. Being specific about them – naming a specific bike trail to ride over a week versus just thinking about bicycling – help me to envision and anticipate what that will be like without concern about email and other commitments looming.
I’ve thought about and discussed with my wife living in other cities for a month or more at a time to really experience them. This has been a fun anticipation activity to look at maps and compare notes on where we could see ourselves exploring.
Give yourself ample time to anticipate your retirement and don’t miss out on the pleasures that experience can bring.