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The personal and community disruption and tragic losses arising from COVID-19 has transformed our lives. Physical distancing and self-isolation have led many to reflect on what is important, what they value. This issue of the Next in Life newsletter is a first-person account of how making choices consistent with your values is critical to a satisfying life in retirement as at any time. And looks at how coping with self-isolation offers lessons for increased time together in retirement.

Your Values and Retirement

Most of us, most of the time, are oblivious to our values. They are the backdrop, not the show of our lives. Yet when we bring our values forward, we have a compass that guides our daily actions. 

Values are your principles or standards of behaviour and reflect what is important in your life. You feel a sense of cohesion when you live in alignment with your values. Disappointment and discontent are inevitable when there is a weak link between what you value and what you do. Finding a balance between who you are and what is expected of you is a retirement challenge. 

Here’s a personal example of what can happen when you are not dialed into your values. When I left paid work, I had the opportunity to go sailing, literally, around the world. With no plan for my post career life, this sounded amazing. I thrived on the steep learning curve to sail a big boat. At the same time, something was niggling away inside. At times I was lonely, bored, missing my family and much more. After four years living on a 37-foot sailboat I had enough and ditched the adventure.

What happened? In the sailing adventure post-mortem, I asked myself “What is important to me, personally?” Turns out learning and growing are high on my values list. No wonder I thrived during the intense learning phase! Contribution, however, is also up there in my values. And I was not able to live that value moving from anchorage to marina to anchorage. The sailing adventure turned from amazing possibility to disappointment and discontent. The values required to sail away, regardless of how amazing the lifestyle appeared, were not consistent with an authentic me. 

You may not know exactly where you want to go in retirement however with your values in hand you can reassure yourself that you know you are going in the right direction.

For a deeper dive into values and a step-by-step guide to create your values, read the full article here.

Coping with COVID-19 Isolation Can Prepare Couples for Retirement 

Returning to Canada after three weeks abroad my husband and I needed to quarantine for 14-days, in our two-bedroom apartment. After three intense weeks with one another while away we were ready to physical distance, from one another. What to do? Anja Sassenberg-DeGeorgia’s On the Edge of Something Bigger inspired a solution. From 8 am to 6 pm we divided the day into two-hour slots and the apartment into three work areas. Every morning we sorted out who got which work area and when we were operating under a cone of silence. Out of each other’s faces we didn’t get on one another’s nerves, got more done with two-hour focus times and the days flew by. And we’re taking this strategy forward, to better handle time together in general.

You can read my review of Sassenberg-DeGeorgia’s book here.

Share Your Story

Do you have a first-person story related to something you have read in Next in Life? Send it to stefa@nextinlife.ca for possible publication.

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Copyright © 2020 *Stefa Katamay, All rights reserved.


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