What Are You Doing for the Rest of Your Life?
An interview with four Philadelphia-based life planners and life coaches
What opportunities do you pursue? Many people need help to figure out which ones to choose. That’s where “life planning” can play an essential role.
The response we got is as varied as the experience of the experts themselves. Each offered different suggestions for filling the years ahead— and making those years fulfilling.
The suggestions ranged from deep reflection on where you’ve been and what you’ve done to imagining vividly and in detail where you’d like to go and what you’d like to do. Our advisers also identified key ways to implement plans and increase your chances for a satisfying and rewarding future.
A Time to Reflect, Explore... and Be Adaptable
“First, come up for air,” he advises. “Breathe deeply, cknowledge your accomplishments and start thinking more about yourself than about others.”
Or, as Diane Freedman, one of the co-founders of Career Visions, a career counseling firm in Philadelphia, says, “It’s all about ‘want to’s’— not ‘have to’s.’ It’s a time for you and your values.”
All four of these advisors agree that self-assessment is key. Dale points out that when people retire they think they know why they are retiring and what they want to do for the rest of their lives. “And then they do something else.”
Look Inside Yourself, Go Outside the Box and Make Your Soul Sing!
"Do some out-of-the-box thinking. Be wide open to opportunities,” adds John.
While our pasts tend to be defined by titles and jobs, both personal and professional, the future is a time to break that mold, explains Chris. “There’s a tendency to define ourselves and our worth by roles,” she says.
“But now is a time to figure out what makes your soul sing. Create a spiritual agenda for yourself,” Chris says. Be honest about yourself, be prepared to transition into this time, be ready for challenges and then “follow your bliss.” she advises, “This is your last hurrah… so go for it!”
- Identify your values, skills and interest and from there goals will emerge – these are the pieces of the puzzle.
- When the puzzle pieces come together, you can brainstorm possibilities and then assess the possibilities versus realities – determine if they are feasible in terms of finances, transportation access, schedule and life circumstances.
- Be ready to shift the criteria that you use for life decisions – and know that this could change again in a number of years.
- Seek outside help, such as a career counselor, peers, someone as a sounding board, in order to look realistically at the possibilities and determine where you fit for the future.
- Look at your financial situation – have a professional determine where you are and how to achieve your goals from a financial perspective.
- Be frank about – and interested in – your current state of health. Be proactive about taking care of your health and any heath problems.
- Focus on getting an appropriate level of exercise – if you can keep moving, you can keep living.
- Seek out social interaction that injects a sense of community and fun into your life.
- Make a point of telling the people in your life that you love them – express what you feel and don’t keep emotions bottled up.