If anyone was going to succeed at retirement it is was Al. An accomplished artist, we first met at a Christmas party of a mutual friend. He was eagerly awaiting retirement as an administrator from a large California university. He was looking forward to entering a new career as an artist.

I was delighted when we recently ran into each other at an artist reception. “How’s retirement Al?” I inquired enthusiastically. “Are you finding the time to paint?”

“Actually,” he replied. “My time is being fretted away. I love to relax in the morning with a cup of coffee reading the paper. By the time I’m done, it’s 11:00 and it seems like the day is half over. I’m not painting as much as I’d like.”

When asked what they look forward to in retirement, the majority of people will respond they want time freedom. They want the time to do what they want to do when they want to do it. I’ve heard from more people that not having to hurry when they get up in the morning is the best aspect of retirement.

Some people will not require more of retirement. They are content to spend their time reading, puttering in the garden, visiting friends and family, taking it easy.

Many people want more of their retirement experience. They want to create new dreams, fill their time with meaningful activities. They want their life to have purpose.

Al is not sitting around watching television all day. He is active on the board of large artist association. He is involved in many activities within the artist community. When we talked, there was sadness in his tone that the one thing he thought he would spend his time doing, painting, isn’t being accomplished.

Unlike Al, many people enter retirement in search of a passion. Other people feel pulled by too many interests and time commitments. Some let family and obligations derail their time and energy.

Despite the myth, retirement isn’t easy. If you want to have a successful retirement, you need to have a plan. What do you want to do with your life in the next five, ten and fifteen years? If you haven’t yet, learn to say ‘no’ when people see you as the easy volunteer because you’re retired.

Develop routines that support what you want to accomplish. Most important, be willing to adjust activities that needlessly suck your time and energy. Experiment with schedules. If one isn’t working, evaluate it and adapt as necessary. Al wants to find time to do the thing he loves.

The difference between a schedule when you work and retirement is it’s yours to create, change and adapt. By not establishing guidelines, you’re left to aimlessly chase the wind.

Author's Bio: 

Cathy Severson, MS helps you make the most of your retirement. Baby boomers understand this isn't your parents’ retirement. Visit www.RetirementLifeMatters.com for more information and resources to make the rest of your life the best of your life. Receive your complimentary copy of 7 Ingredients for a Satisfying Retirement at