How do you know what to ignore in your retirement?

English: Goose ignoring me Just walked right p...
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It’s that time of year when many people make resolutions.  The traditional resolutions — to lose (or gain) weight, to start an exercise program, to clear the clutter, to eat better, to sleep more, to eliminate debt are familiar categories.  I freed myself from resolutions a few years ago and began writing down my aspirations or intentions for how I will live in my retirement.  I review these  periodically and take stock of my progress.

When I did the last review, it struck me that it was time to expand my list to include not only those positive things that I am working on but also to give attention to those things that I am going to ignore.

One of the great joys of retirement is designing a life that you want and not a life that someone else wants for you.

Deciding what to ignore

The postworksavvy lifestyle allows me to decide that I will ignore those things that don’t make me happy.  

I know that I no longer get pleasure from attending loud noisy events so I refuse invitations — especially invitations to social events that involve crowds and superficial encounters.  I spent too much of my life dressed in uncomfortable shoes and making ‘light’ conversation when I was in career mode. That type of networking and socializing does not make me happy and I ignore such events.

I also ignore the constant barrage of information from various types of media and technology.  Taking a media break last year taught me that certain types of media are addictive — for me, the biggest culprits are CBC radio and daily newspapers. Periodic breaks from these information sources really clears the mind.  And, guess what?  In the grand scheme of life, I miss very little of consequence.  Many readers  have similar addictions — perhaps to the internet or to television.

While I recognize that I can’t completely ignore information or technology , I do know that I can manage how I use and digest information.  Whenever I feel overloaded, I ignore the source for a period of time.  This helps me to stay grounded and intentional in managing what comes into my brain and what I digest.

Ignoring people who suck my energy without giving much back to me has come with difficulty.  As a gregarious person and as a trained therapist, I have sometimes found myself giving too much of my postworksavvy time to people who are psychologically needy.  I have to remind myself that saying ‘no’ in a polite and respectful manner is the best response to people who want me to help them in ways that take too much time or too much energy. It’s easy to get hooked into relationships with people who need a counsellor. I am learning to ignore people with whom reciprocal friendship is not possible while working hard to nurture relationships with people who have a positive approach to life.

Finally, I am trying to ignore minor issues that tend to distract me and can sometimes derail a whole day.  Whether it is getting upset about an inconvenience or distracted with details that make no difference to the expected outcome, I am trying to curb my predisposition to look for trivial problems.  I ignore some of my husband’s habits in favour of a happy relationship by thinking about some of my habits that he ignores.  I worry less about the perfectly set table or the perfectly clean house in exchange for spending my time on hobbies that make me a happier person.  Letting go takes effort but ignoring small annoyances allows for a more pleasant postworksavvy lifestyle.

Making Your ‘what to ignore’ list

The beginning of the New Year is an excellent time for making your own list of what you will start to ignore to make your life happier.  Recognizing those things that have lost importance for you and ignoring them will free up time to spend doing things that are meaningful and in relationships with people you love.

Making the list of what you will choose to ignore is affirming.  It makes you conscious of life distractions.  It gives you permission to let go of some of the ‘should dos’ and the habits that have lost meaning.  In terms of making life changes, the ignore list may have more relevance than all of those resolutions.

Happy New Year to all readers!

3 Replies to “How do you know what to ignore in your retirement?”

  1. Hi, Jeanette
    I appreciated reading this. As a believer in ignoring/avoiding certain things (esp in a therapeutic culture of ‘dealing with …’) I often feel somewhat less than when I do not confront issues or people who in my heart of hearts I know will not change. Your phrase, “I am learning to ignore people with whom reciprocal friendship is not possible while working hard to nurture relationships with people who have a positive approach to life.” is one that speaks to me and reminds me of a phrase in the Desiderata about disputatatious persons being vexations to the spirit and thus to be avoided. Best wishes for a peaceful and interesting 2012!

    1. Thanks for your insightful comment. I certainly did not have the Desiderata on my mind when writing my post. I was only thinking about some people who manage to suck the air out of a room with their negativity. I am trying to keep things positive in my life. Happy New Year to you and your family.
      Be well, Jeanette

  2. Excellent advise on what retirement is really about…taking time to do the things we want and need to enjoy life instead of living to serve other’s pleasures. Nothing wrong with that after a life of giving to others. It’s good to take time for ourselves. My husband likes me better now that I’m more relaxed. I too have learned to ignore certain things that aren’t of that much consequence in the end. Great post!

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