Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Man, You’ve Got To Have A Plan

During my career as a forester, I frequently had the opportunity to work with inmates from the Dept. of Correction’s labor camp. The inmates are organized into ten person crews who assist us during projects such as tree planting or forest fire suppression. Years ago, I met an inmate whose name escapes me, but he taught me a very valuable lesson. At the time, we were working on a fire and he came to me for direction as to how to proceed with an assigned task. As a fire is frequently a constantly changing situation, the plan you begin your day with, frequently is not the one you end with. When he asked for further direction, I mutter something to the effect that at this moment I was not certain what we would do next. As he pulled me aside, he uttered words to me that nearly 30 years later I still remember. He simply said, “Man, you got to have a plan; you won’t go anywhere with out one!” Words of wisdom to live by!

As I began to prepare for retirement some eighteen months ago, I developed what is affectionately know as “The Plan”. I offer my plan for your reading pleasure.

Within the first month of retirement
perform at least one volunteer activity
host a dinner party
read a book
take a fun day trip

Within first three months of retirement
take two classes – for fun and to exercise the mind
plan a vacation
start a passion activity
begin a photo project

Within the first six months
take a vacation
become established in at least one volunteer activity

I case you are wondering about the inmate’s plan for his life, I never asked. Even at such a young age I knew that some questions are better off left unasked.

1 comment:

Paul said...

As you know from fighting fires, plans need to be extremely flexible as often times, life does not follow a straight path.

Good luck in your retirement and don't get trapped in doing a whole lot of retirement activities, like volunteering 50 hours/week. I had a friend who retired and got caught up in that. It took her nearly 18 months to stabilize in her retirement. She did lots of volunteering, started another degree, etc. Now, after stabilizing, she just enjoys her time and does whatever she wants.