I watched a YouTube video this morning which struck a chord.
I retired a couple of years ago and have been redesigning my life accordingly.
It's a strange time.
I hopefully have years ahead of me. What am I going to do with them all?
When I was younger, there was a pattern to life. I went to school, went out to work, got married, had children. All of those things were pretty standard. A lot of people do them. There's a framework. A routine. A pattern to follow. My Mum and Dad had done the same things. My friends were doing the same things.
It seems like there are lots of different ways to be retired.
Some people care for grandchildren, volunteer, socialise, enjoy hobbies, take up a sport, get involved in local politics, go travelling. Me? Well those things are either irrelevant to me or I've done them earlier in life, got them out of my system.
We downsized a few years ago after the children left home and we lost other members of the family. In the video, Deidre talks about how negative this time can feel. It feels like an ending. We are getting rid of the things that used to be so important to us. Things that made our home feel like home.
Yet, as she says, this can be a time to reconnect with our dreams.
When we were young children we could be ourselves, with our own dreams and ideas.
As we got older, we started to learn to fit in with other people's needs, expectations, standards.
But now? Well now we have time to think again about those chidlhood dreams.
As Deidre says, we may develop those dreams in different ways at this time of life than we would have done when young. She suggests baby steps.
Perhaps we wanted to go to university and get a degree, but couldn't do it. So now perhaps we could take a course online or at the local college. And there is no pressure to turn that into a career, to make a living from it, to reach a certain standard. We can just do it for interest, for fun.
Perhaps we wanted to be a vet. Well now perhaps we could volunteer at an animal shelter or be a foster carer for stray dogs. We still get that same sense of caring for animals and we get the satisfaction of looking after them, but we don't have to take it to the level that we would have needed when we were deciding on a career.
Deidre describes this as a time to dig deep in yourself to find your own authentic dreams.
We spend so much of our life contorting ourselves to fit in with other people's needs - those of our partner, boss, children, elderly relatives - that we may have forgotten what those childhood dreams were.
I found her thoughts inspiring, so I'm off to dig... who knows what I might find!