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Workshops and resources for women over 50

Where does our time go?

I went to the retirement party of a friend who has been passionate about work for the last 40 or so years. As we walked around his house, it seemed that EVERYTHING there was a future “project”, from cleaning out the garage to installing backyard lights to getting a dog. He mentioned he’s been doing a lot of volunteer work already and he hopes to expand that. Plus weekends away with family and friends. Sounds good. I’m sure he’ll get the dog and maybe finish the lights, but we’ll never see the clean garage!

Other people commented on how they are or plan to spend their retirement time. Travel, golf, family, scrapbooks, shopping…and I started wondering about how we spend our time. And what might be a better way than frittering it away as many of us seem to do.

So I made a list of the things I get the most satisfaction doing and a list of the least. (While I’m sort of retired, I’m still trying to make a living as a consultant, so I’m not to the “golf stage” yet.)

Satisfaction… giving tours of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings to the interested public, gardening, lunch with friends, seeing great theater, cleaning out anything (PURGE!, the new Boomer war chant), hugging my dog, classes at the Apple store, Costco surprises, walking with friends

Low satisfaction… going through junk mail (including emails), sitting in meetings, watching most TV (not Project Runway or Mad Men), looking for things, talking to people I don’t find interesting or happy, doing errands, housecleaning.

Thinking about what we get satisfaction from is darn interesting. Why? What’s so cool about throwing things out, yet housecleaning is dull? Or how I can sit in a Mac class but am pained sitting in meetings?

So I took my lists and compared them to my “goal mind map” I have on things I want to accomplish and realized that things I get satisfaction from are directly connected to things I want to achieve. Goal – car in garage. Goal – learn my Mac. I have no goal of a clean house or advancing my career in the corporate world.

One of the workshops we run is “LifeSort”, basically helping you discover what you want to do for the rest of your life. We look at your strengths, passions and concerns and deep dive with interviews and visioning exercises. And I’m always so delighted when our participants leave having a real sense of how they can spend their time to achieve the most satisfaction. It’s gratifying to see them get excited about pursuing something they really care about. One woman is opening a communal art gallery, another diving into spirituality to feed her lifelong curiosity. Another woman has gone back to work, after retirement, and is so much happier. The list goes on.

My challenge to all of us over 50 is to think about what will give us the most satisfaction and then be creative about how to get more of that into our lives. And less of what is not satisfying. Some people find taking classes or starting a degree program is a way to involve themselves in new satisfying topics. Others volunteer or travel or make new friends.

I’d love to hear how you all are finding the best ways to use your time. I hope it’s for something really satisfying.


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