Odds are there will be a future. Statistically at my age, I have about 20 years left to live. Some people my age life a little longer, some a little less, some won't live to see tomorrow, but there is a 50/50 chance I will live 20 more years. Being retired could be the longest single job of my life. My second professional lasted 15 years, 7 employer's. My third profession is projected to last 24 1/2 years, with only two employers. Fifteen years (by the time I will retire) with the Commission on Law and Aging has in many ways been one of the highlights of my life.
So what next?
Travel. There are places I want to go, and adventures that I want to do, that need time and flexibility, and after retirement my time will be mine.
Being more active as a volunteer. I have said if I won the lottery there are parts of my job I would do for free. I love organizing training, producing it, speaking when I can. Flexibility to do that will bring joy to my life.
Writing. Writing takes time, and being free of editorial limits (but hopefully not good sense) will empower me to write on things that I think are important. There is a publication I sometimes writes for whose audience is people my age and older. I would love to write travel pieces for them, but they only want substantive content from me, and they publish travel adventure from others. I am going to change that.
Time to cook more mindfully. At the end of a 10 hour grind, I just want to fix something edible. I have fun on the weekend, I want more days to be like the weekend.
I want to adopt a shop fresh style. I was raised in the middle of nowhere, and grocery shopping was done once a week, maybe once every other week. I want shop more often, bringing home less. (Though you will probably always be able to eat out of my pantry and refrigerator for a week if the weather is nasty and never miss a good meal.)
I want / need to get back into the gym. I know I will never be the gym bunny I once was, there a physical limits today that were not a part of my life 30 years ago, but I can do so much more with what I have to work with. In my driven gym bunny days, I never entirely looked the way I wanted to (though I was kind of hot for a few years) and even then my goal was always to do the best I could with the body I have to work with. Doing that takes time and commitment. I will never fit into 30-inch waist jeans again.
I want to take a few cruises. I have dreamed of a transatlantic crossing, my grandmother did it four times 110 years ago. I would like to go to Japan, and loath the thought of 18 hours of flying, there are repositioning cruises from the west coast to Japan, and from Japan to the west coast, I want to do that. I want to go back to Alaska, there are a couple of unfinished adventures there. In winter time the Caribbean sounds nice.
I want to travel cross country. Maybe take the train, or a long slow drive seeing everything there is to see in between.
I want to take the slow boats, a YouTuber recently took a ferry from Portsmouth to Bilbao, two nights, nice a slow crossing. That is hard to do, when I need to squeeze everything into 12 days on the ground. This time next year, (maybe sooner) I won't have that limit to deal with. Bring on the slow boat.
I want to spend time in my local library. Their hours and my schedule are not very compatible, closed on Sundays!!!?!!!?. I want to visit my local senior center, maybe volunteer to spark new programs (a photography workshop?) There are some great museums around, and historical sights to see. From the peak of the hill, through the gap in the trees, you can see the Washington Monument from here, and I haven't been in it in over a decade. Starting in August, I get half price Metro fares.
I want to spend more time with a camera in hand, to use some of the amazing lenses I have been able to accumulate. I set here and wonder why have I not photographed the Washington Monument with my fish-eye lens, I could stand five feet from it and take in the whole thing.
I want to feel free to stay up late, and sleep late. I want to be able to take a midday nap. A couple of weeks ago I was on an all day virtual meeting. The organizers needed a long lunch break, 90 minutes, I dozed off for 20 wonderful minutes and awoke to the sound of the meeting being called back to order. It was so nice. (I was attending from home, and my work space at home is in my bedroom.)
I plan to get rid of all but a couple of neckties. I think I have worn one once in the past year - and that was enough. I have racks full of them. I need to clean out my closets.