Written by Nick Freedman, Founder of Retire on Purpose.
Time is a fascinating concept. From a very young age when school begins, our day is orientated around the movement of time. What time does the school bell ring? Where do I need to be when I hear the sound? What lesson starts after morning recess?
Then as we grow through teen years, new questions emerge around time. How long 'til I can drive? How many years left until I finish study and start working?
Life goes on and more water flows under the temporal bridge, then we find job recruiters asking us to imagine a time in the future. Where do you see yourself five years from now?
As work begins and we join new teams, we sense time ticking away in the background. For the salesperson, each month creates a deadline to hit a target before the cycle starts again. The factory worker is tasked with manufacturing a certain number of widgets before their lunch break. And for leaders in strategic planning retreats, they ask what kind of goals are we aiming for and when must we achieve them by?
At work, time surrounds us and we see big numbers stacking up quickly. 40+ hours a week turn into 2000 hours a year. And 20,000 hours each decade rack up to 80,000 working hours across a typical career. It seems there is a frame permanently mounted to the wall and the most important questions relating to time get scribed into it. And this ‘time frame’ acts as a reminder about the clock ticking away in the background.
So given time is always around us, have you ever stopped to ask what it is? If you tune into your physical senses of sight, sound, taste, touch and smell, time cannot be perceived or grasped by them. Beyond the printed questions inside the frame, you cannot find time as a tangible thing. Rather, time is a concept which charts the movement of physical objects through space. This helps us understand our past, present and future.
We need time in our lives, and yet it can be the source of great frustration; ‘I don’t have enough time to do what I want’; ‘I’m going to miss the deadline’; ‘I’m watching my life pass before my eyes’, are common time complaints.
As the years roll into the sixth decade, many people find themselves slowing their pace. Ideas about the end of work appear. It seems our time frame hanging on the wall requires a new question to bring meaning to the transition into retirement. It's a significant time in life. One day you're at work, and the next day you're not. In a recent US survey, 41% of people said that retiring was the hardest transition they had to navigate in life.
During retirement, time is no longer focussed on effectiveness and filling up the day with productive activities. Timesheets and KPIs, which once provided measures of success drop away too. And for many people who’ve led full professional lives, this void of activity can be a daunting prospect.
There are many great questions you'll reflect on during our programs and this is the primary one …
How will you spend your 2000 hours?
The day you retire 2000 fresh, new, empty hours open up each year. These hours will ask how you want to fill them. Initially it can be refreshing to have all this spare time to yourself. But after the novelty of the first few months pass, and your old work routines become a memory, you'll realise your relationship with time feels very different in retirement.
Retire on Purpose was created to support men and women who are transitioning from the end of their careers into retirement. Our two programs pose all the questions you need to transition successfully. My Legacy helps you find, recruit and mentor your successor, so you can leave behind your professional legacy. And My Game Plan helps you build a holistic roadmap for your retirement so you can retire with a fresh sense of purpose (to fill your 2000 hours) and peace of mind that the new life you are stepping into, is actually the one you want to be living.