This time of year there is a lot of talk about planning and setting goals and aims and thinking about what you want to do with your life.
But it’s not so straightforward when you’re ill and/or retired early or unable to work. A lot of this talk is about career development or changes. And if you aren’t working and know you will not work again this is irrelevant.
Some people may be able to manage a small online shop. This was originally my plan; to sell cards, just to give me a bit of purpose and direction. But that has been ruled out – any money I would make from that would go straight towards my care which I find very frustrating. I am realistic enough to know that I’d not earn much from selling cards but the personal satisfaction of having someone like my work enough to pay for it would be helpful for my mental health. And I know I wouldn’t be selling so many cards that it would affect my health.
Other life goals people have include buying a house – that’s out the question financially – or having children – out the question from a health point of view – or meeting their significant other – I have little enough energy for me let alone someone else. Travelling the world would be a great dream to have but its completely unfeasible financially.
Realistically, there are days when getting out of bed is an achievement. It can very hard to think even a few months ahead when you have chronic illness or mental health issues. The future is so unknown and that makes it very difficult to think long term or in terms of ambitions and life goals.
Don’t get me wrong, there are things I enjoy doing on a day to day basis and I have a few longer term projects on the go. But if someone asked my what I want to do with my life, or where I want to be in five years time, or what my life might look like in 2026, I have no idea.
I know it’s still early days with my retirement and that I am adjusting and getting used to it. I hope that towards the end of 2017 I will have something helpful to say, but for now, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the pressure of having life plans etc, know that you aren’t alone.