The Balance of Be-ing and Do-ing

Part of my retirement transition has been exploration into happiness. There are many hypotheses about what drive happiness, especially later in life, but one that seems to have conflicting messages are the concepts of be-ing and do-ing.

On one hand there is the idea of finding the joy in being non-productive. Being in the moment. Finding the stillness and mindfulness of quiet time. Of course, for a recovering workaholic, this is a daunting concept.  Just being?!?

Then there is the other hand – the idea that a successful retirement is doing what I want, when I want, with whom I want.  And in the doing, you find your true sense of purpose.

Of course, my workaholic tendency has me creating action plans and experimenting with new activities. I even blogged about my month of trying out yoga! (And yes, still doing it and enjoying it.)  A quote I read from Dale Carnegie captures the importance of do-ing: “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”

Getting busy and doing the work is a theme in many quotes I seem to gravitate towards:

  • “There is no Fairy Godmother. If you want to change your life for the better, you need to do the work.”
  • “Don’t let fear drive procrastination. Take action; do something – do anything. What are you waiting for?”
  • “You need to work through the complexity to find the simplicity”.

So is it more important to do or to be?

As in most of life, it’s a balance. For me the easier is the “do”.   So the learning is in the “be”.

Learn to just be sometimes.   Be OK with not having constant activity.  Stop to smell the roses, enjoy an afternoon of just watching the surf, and have a chat with a neighbor. This is not wasted time.

And be equally OK with the do. It is OK to have the action plans and the checklists. To try out the new activities, get off the couch everyday, and be active with yoga, walks, SUP, and Zumba. But choose things that truly fit with your life vision – not the ones you think you should be doing.

And maybe, as I spend more time in the “be-ing”, I can better sort the true vision activities from the should. Because some days it feels I am doing things that are should and not necessarily bringing me happiness.

At this stage of your retirement life, are you more caught up in the be-ing or the do-ing?


Picture Credit: Pixabay



And the Spirits Laughed

Early this year I explored spirituality with a reading by a medium. I’ve been intrigued with the concept of Spirit. So as I tend to do with an area of interest, I started doing research via reading, attending a conference (Victory of Light), and even trying some of the recommended techniques (ex. affirmations). Getting a spiritualist or tarot card reading was also always on my bucket list.   So early this year, thinking it was a new beginning moment for my retirement transition, I scheduled a reading to help with manifesting my new vision.

During the reading, the medium made the comment “when you said you were retired, the spirits laughed”.   Apparently, the spirit world felt that I was not yet fully transitioned into a retirement mindset and this past couple of months I am actually feeling that more and more.

When I first retired at the relatively early age of 53, most people assumed I would continue to work. Anyone “like me” would obviously continue to “give back” to society by working. I was just “too young” to be retired. Most expected me to work part-time, doing consulting. And so, as I tend to do as expected, I did enter into the world of consulting. And for the most part, I like it.  I can choose projects and so only work on things I like to do.

But the world of freelance consulting with big companies is an odd one.   You’ll agree to a project and it can take from a few days to months for the contract to be negotiated and signed. Last month, I hit a “trifecta”. Three projects all hit at once – one was a restart after a 6-month delay in the project, one began after 2-month delay in contract negotiations, and one only a month from contract discussion. So for the past few weeks, I’ve been working almost full time, juggling three different projects in three different companies.

Perhaps I needed this experience to realize that I need more mindset shifting for my retirement life. While I enjoy the mental stimulation of the work, and I go get lost in the “flow” with that thinking, I also loved having the time to do other things. I am missing my yoga classes and the ability to go walking with a girlfriend. Not to mention time to think about writing a blog!

Retired? And the spirits laughed. Perhaps they are teaching me a lesson I need to learn!

If I continue with the part-time consulting work, I need to learn to say no when I’m already at my time commitment for that element of life.  And to be more intentional in fitting in my yoga and walks and blog writing.  It is so easy for me to slip back into work mode and so hard to keep life in the forefront.  This next month will be a challenge for me in doing that.  Blogging will be a great indicator of my success, so hopefully you’ll be hearing from me in May.


Picture Credit: Pixabay