Don’t Look Back (You’re Not Going That Way)

Do you live your life in The Past, The Present, or The Future?   

My mother-in-law passed away last September.  I remember when she was in her final years, and her short term memory and her future were stolen by the evil disease of Alzheimer’s. She lived in the past.

To make her final years as enjoyable as possible, we did our best to foster her remaining positive memories from her long ago past.  During our visits with her in the nursing home, we’d pull out a pile of old pictures, and smile when she lit up with oft-repeated oft-repeated oft-repeated stories about her earlier years. Her past was better than her present, and she had no prospects for a future here on earth.

She didn’t have a choice.  She Lived In The Past.

Let’s go to the other extreme.  My granddaughter, Octavia Rose, is 5 months old.  She has no past, and she knows nothing about her future.  She’s 100% focused on the Present.  Of course she is, she’s only 5 months old.

She doesn’t have a choice.  She Lives In The Present.

Unlike my mother-in-law or granddaughter, however, we DO have a choice.

Do you live your life in The Past, The Present, or The Future? You have a choice. Choose wisely. Click To Tweet

Today, I’m going to encourage you to enjoy the life you have remaining and to avoid spending your precious years in the trap that often catches people as they age.  Enjoy The Present, dream about your future, but try to minimize the amount of time you spend looking back.

The Three Time Phases Of Life

We all have three choices when it comes to what time frame we focus on:

  • The Past
  • The Present
  • The Future

Are you intentional about deciding how much of your mental energy you’re going to dedicate to each Time Phase?  Today, we’re going to look at what it means to be intentional while living your life.  Make a conscious decision to “Don’t Look Back”, and choose between how much of your life you’ll commit to The Present vs. The Future.


What Is Your Time Phase Allocation? TPA

I suspect most of you think about your Asset Allocation as you manage your investments, and read with interest articles about How To Achieve Your Targeted Asset Allocation.   

But I suspect almost none of us have considered our Time Phase Allocation.  Have You?

You look at your Asset Allocation, but do you look at your Time Phase Allocation? Today, some pie charts to consider... Click To Tweet

Since I just “invented” the word TPA, don’t worry if you haven’t thought much about it before reading these words. To make your job a bit easier, I’ve done a bit of legwork for you.

Let’s look at 4 examples:

  • My Mother-In-Law (Alzheimer’s)
  • Extreme FIRE 
  • Someone with $0 Saved For Retirement
  • My granddaughter

Taking some liberties with the numbers, here’s what their Time Phase Allocations may look like:

(BTW, apologies for that naggy little share button that hovers. I can’t seem to find a way to remove it.  Be patient, it’ll go away in 10 seconds…)

It’s an interesting visual and shows the extremes from someone who lives entirely in the past (Alzheimer’s) to someone who lives entirely in the Present (a child).  For the “extreme FIRE”, I used an example which highlights a concern I have for folks who think too much about the Future at the expense of the Present.  Most FIRE advocates don’t fit this pie, which is why I labeled it “Extreme” FIRE.  Don’t call the FIRE police, please. Go with the flow, it’s only an example to make a point.  On the opposite extreme, those who haven’t been responsibly saving for their retirement are living too much in The Present, and haven’t carved out a big enough piece of “Future” in their Time Phase Allocation.

So…what’s YOUR Time Phase Allocation? 

Have you thought about it?

If not, you’re not alone.  I had never spent time thinking about it until I wrote this post, but I think the concept has merit.  Focus on “Don’t Look Back”, and find a way to spend more time in The Present.  Don’t overdo it on “The Present” like someone who isn’t saving anything for retirement, or spend too much time on “The Future” like someone who is obsessed with reaching retirement.

Experience the joy of living each day.  Find a way to increase “The Present” slice in your TPA pie.

I encourage you to think about it and decide how you want to spend your life.


For The First Time Ever:  I’m Sharing My TPA!

Since I’ve already shared my Asset Allocation, I felt it only fair to share my Time Phase Allocation.  Let me preface it by saying:

An interesting thing happened when I retired. My TPA changed DRAMATICALLY. Here are the charts to prove it... Click To Tweet

In my final few years of work, I was focusing really, really hard on reaching The Starting Line of retirement.  I was living in “The Future”. I was Alone in my City Apartment during the weeks, and I wasn’t enjoying “The Present” all that much.  It was a sacrifice my wife and I agreed to make in order to make our retirement move to the mountains, but it wasn’t much fun.

All that changed when I retired.

I’ve “felt” this change in the 10 months since I’ve retired, but I couldn’t put my finger on it until I wrote this post.

I’m Now Living In The Present, and it’s a wonderful place to be.

Now that I’ve achieved Retirement, my future doesn’t matter as much.  In fact, if I’m honest with myself, the longer term future is pretty bleak (think, Alzheimer’s?).  No worries, I’m really not thinking about it all that much.  I’m focused on The Present. 

My wife and I have worked 33 years to get where we’re at, and we’re loving every minute of it. 

Mission Accomplished. 

Goal Achieved.

Retirement is a time to live in The Present. My TPA reflects that, and I couldn't be happier about it. Click To Tweet

It’s Time To Live In The Now.

It’s the biggest single change I’ve noticed in retirement, and it was completely unexpected.  I’m not complaining.  In fact, I’m rather enjoying myself.


Don’t Look Back (You’re Not Going That Way)

As for the title of this post, looking back fondly at our memories isn’t a bad thing.  I’ve got many great memories from the life I’ve led thus far, and there’s nothing wrong with thinking back to some of the great things we’ve experienced in life.  I’m giving “The Past” 15% of my TPA slice, and I enjoy thinking about the memories of raising our daughter.

But the past is not where we should focus our time, energy or brain power.

The Past Is The Past.

We can’t change it, and we’re wasting precious energy if we worry about the “Coulda Shoulda Woulda’s” of our yesterdays.  If you’re going to invest energy in thinking about something, find something more productive to think about.

Savor The Present, and invest the appropriate amount of energy in shaping The Future. 


I’ve Only Got 32% Of My Life Left To Live

According to the SSA Longevity Calculator, I’m going to die at Age 82.7.  I recently turned 56, which means I only have 32.3% of my life left to live.  Run the calculator yourself, then do a little math.  Since you’re reading this blog, I’m guessing you’ve already lived the majority of your life.

That could be depressing, but it’s not.  That’d be giving too big a piece of the TPA pie to “The Future”, and I’d rather give that piece of pie to The Present.

This car called Life doesn't have a reverse. Don't spend your time looking back. It's time to hit the gas and enjoy the ride. Click To Tweet

If the SSA is correct, I’ve got 26.7 Years left, and I plan on making the most of the days I have left.  

Every. Single. One.

It’s time to live in The Present.


Boston Had It Right

I took a break while I was writing this post and did some trout fishing on my beloved Toccoa River. (hey, I’m retired.  You don’t really think I sit at a keyboard all day, do you?)

As I was fishing, I thought about this post (a common thing for me, thinking about whatever post I happen to be working while I’m away from my computer and my brain is free to wander.  In fact, I do some of my best “writing” while I’m walking the dogs!).

As I was throwing that line out to those stubborn fish, that catchy tune from Boston, “Don’t Look Back”, filled my brain.  I’ve always loved Boston, and that song is my favorites from my younger days.  When I got back to my computer, I looked up the YouTube video and enjoyed their classic tune:

I love the lyrics from this song:

Don’t look back
A new day is breakin’
It’s been too long since I felt this way
I don’t mind where I get taken
The road is callin’
Today is the day

A New Day Is Breakin’

What do you want Your New Day to be?

In retirement, we have a greater ability to influence our future direction that than in any other period in our lives.

We’re free from the bondage of work, we’re done saving for retirement and we can make our “New Day” whatever we want it to be.  Don’t spoil the beauty of your New Day by fretting about your past, or worrying too much about your future.

Don’t Look Back. You’re not going that way.


Curtis Has The Right Idea

My friend Curtis is 81 years old.  (You remember Curtis, right?  He’s my previous boss who wears a kilt).

He planted the seed for today’s article when he posted the following on Facebook at the beginning of this year (I responded to his post with a comment that I may have to write about the philosophy in his post, which I’m doing today).  Now that I’ve written it, I owe a huge “Thank You” to Curtis for making me think about this concept of Time Phase Allocation, and for generating my first ever TPA.

I’d love to see Curtis’ TPA,  I suspect it’s got a huge slice of pie dedicated to enjoying The Present.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.  Curtis is a mentor in my life, and he’s taught me a lot of things since I first worked for him way back in 1988.

This time, he taught me to “Don’t Look Back, You’re Not Going That Way”.  He led me to “invent” this concept of Time Phase Allocation.

It’s an important lesson for all of us.


Conclusion

Time is a funny thing.  It always moves at the exact same pace: 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour.  24 hours in a day.  Always forward, never back.

Time is one thing we can’t control in our lives.

What we CAN control is what we do with the time we have left.  We CAN control our “Time Phase Allocation”.

Choose To Live In The Present, and find a way to expand that piece of the pie in your TPA.

Enjoy your life, and shape the days ahead into the best they can be.  Pursue your Passions, and live life to the fullest. 

Time is short.

Don’t Look Back.  You’re Not Going That Way.


Your Turn:  Do me a favor?  Can you share your TPA in the comments below, and let me know what you think of the concept?  I look forward to chatting with you there…

60 comments

  1. Awesome post Fritz, and love the Boston (that hair!).

    In all honesty, I’m bad with this. I tend to look back too much. Sometimes focusing on regrets but I also have a fondness for nostalgia. The latter is innocent, especially when sitting around with my lifelong buds discussing the glory days, but just adds to the tendency to look backwards. I read that it’s best to avoid nostalgia for that reason, because when you look back even on the good and fun memories it can naturally lead to regrets as well. I’m working on it….

  2. Fritz,
    another great article. Like the other reply, I tend to find myself looking back on the good old days. Sometimes wondering if I made the right choice on my path. While I love where I am , I cannot help thinking about the “what if’s”. I also find myself in the FIRE. I see the light down this retirement tunnel and it is getting brighter. My trigger concerns are health insurance and what will I do all day? I am a type A, always going and doing. SO I see myself currently in the FIRE pie, but probably closer to 20% past, 25% present and 55% future. I know I need to move out of the past and future, but again the “what if’s” of the future ae also of a big concern.
    Thanks for what you are doing to help us future retirees

    1. Mark, I’ve sometimes thought back to the “forks in the road” in my life, as well. Once you’ve passed that intersection, there’s little value in thinking “what if”. Enjoy the path you’re on, there are more forks ahead! I had some of the same concerns as you about retirement, but I’ve found the past year to be among the best in my life. I hope you find the same when you cross The Starting Line.

      1. I’m new in here. I like this post. I’m at that fork in the road now. 51 y.o. swr of 3% and I’m good but not sure I’m ready. Keep thinking there are other opportunities. They come with risk. It’s a difficult back and forth.

  3. Excellent post Fritz! I’m 14 months away from retirement and am probably spending more time than I should looking toward the future. However, I’m happy to report I don’t tend to focus on the past. Your article is making me stop and think about ways I should be spending more time in the present.

    1. Congrats on your pending retirement, Deb. I can totally relate to spending a lot of time thinking about the future in that final year of work. I think it’s one point in life where it’s wise to do that, actually. Good luck on your journey, thanks for stopping by!

  4. Love this concept of “time phase allocation”. It seems like we could really start to look at everything in our lives and how we allocate our resources toward them instead of just our investment allocations. I will need to visit my time phase allocation to make sure I am not too aggressively positioned in the future!

    1. With a name like “Penny Pinching Ninja”, I can certainly understand how your “Present” may be a bit too large a piece of the TPA pie. Take a month off, and find a way to enjoy the Present. The FIRE journey is a marathon, not a sprint. Even folks running marathon find a way to hit those water stops. Thanks for your kind words about the post, glad to know it made you think a bit. I can ask for nothing more.

  5. Really enjoyed this post. I am in a similar situation to yourself having “retired” from the corporate world last year. I think my numbers are comparable to yours-but there are some slight differences. Pre-retirement, I would say I was 10% past, 60% present and 30% future-But living in the present was not always a good thing over those 40 years. Sometimes, I spent too much money on personal enjoyment and “stuff”, to the detriment of my future. I spent my later career playing catch-up-and fortunately have done OK with that. My younger life was OK but some of it was not a bowl of cherries and I don’t look back at the glory days as that. I am blessed that my life has continued to get better and keeps doing so. I am probably what is simplistically called a “late bloomer” or should I say late-bloomer boomer. 🙂 Anyway, the wife and I are enjoying life now and probably 10% past, 80% present and 10% future (mine adds up to 100%, I am happy there 🙂 ). Great post, again.

    1. 100% Happy, can’t do much better than that. Interesting that you had a similar experience with a “TPA Shift” as you entered retirement. I suspect it’s a pretty common phenomenon for folks when they enter retirement. Glad you enjoyed the post!

  6. It’s been said that Regrets of the Past and Fear of the Future are the twin thieves that rob us of the joy of the Present.

  7. Your present TPA is 15% past and future, and 75% current. Umm, doesn’t that add up to 105%? Something doesn’t sound right.

    Leading up to retirement, my TPA was probably 10% past, 20% future, and 70% present. Hasn’t really changed in the 5 months since I stopped working for pay.

    1. Oops. Dang, no matter how long I work at editing, those nasty gremlins still sneak through. I love observant readers! Funny, I was oscillating between 70 – 75% when I made that TPA chart. I actually entered 70% in the chart, but 75% on the label. Argh. Good thing I don’t blog about money or numbers, right? Nice catch.

      I’m impressed that you had a 70% Present TPA prior to retirement, kudos for living in the Present!! (and, for being better at math than I am!)

  8. Really neat insight! I can totally identify with spending most of my time in future-thinking mode during pre-FIRE, and switching to more time in the present post-FIRE. Nice job putting it into words (and graphs!).

    We took this “StrengthsFinders” thing at my work a while back, where it picks out peoples strengths amongst a group of 34 options. Two strengths on there are “futuristic” (self-explanatory) and “context” which takes in data from the past and “focus”, which is more about the present. Futuristic/Context are both considered “strategic” strengths – that is they help you get things done later – while “focus” helps you RIGHT NOW.

    After years of planning retirement, planning for projects at work and a bunch more, the switch to focus on the present has required a lot of much-needed slowing down.

    1. Great comment, Adam. Interesting about the StrengthFinders “thing”, and comparison of “strategic” vs. “focus”. I also agree that slowing down seems to help with being Present.

      Nice addition to the discussion, thanks for stopping by.

  9. Hi Fritz,
    Love the title of the post, as well as the reference to Boston. (Since I am originally from the Boston area, this group is near and dear to my heart…I can also clearly remember blasting that vinyl album in my dorm room!)
    I have been noticing that shift, too…from thinking about retirement and “getting there” to just living in retirement. Every day is a new opportunity to choose what I want to do. And if I don’t get to it today, tomorrow will do.
    We are scheduled to leave for the NE on 4/22…but if we are not quite ready as long as we get home by 4/28 all is well. Pressure is OFF.

    1. The vinyl, indeed! I spun that Boston plastic many times! Interesting that you also felt the shift as you moved into retirement, seems to be a common theme in the comments today. You may enjoy the comment from Mr. Smith in response to my One Retirement Question Project, somehow the words sound even wiser with his old Southern Drawl! Enjoy your trip to NE, I’ll be thinking of you when we hook up “The Dog House” for our trip West!

  10. Another great post. Yes Fritz, as I am now approaching 82, I’m enjoying life each day, doing what I love and what I am capable of. During quiet times, I do reminisce about the past focusing on the good times and the good people I had the fortune to work with, you being one of the brightest memories . I don’t question “What if I had done something different ” as that is a waste of time that you could be enjoying today. And there is still some time to think about tomorrow. I have so far been blessed with good health- my recent back strain excepted. So I plan for future things to do. I’m “booked” out through at least November teaching Orienteering in both State and National Parks. Last weekend I taught “Introduction to Orienteering” for the University of Tennessee Field School in the Smokies and will do it again in Oct. That is one of those unexpected and unplanned surprises that can crop up in Retirement. It is something I never planned on, but find I thoroughly enjoy teaching others something they can use in the Great Outdoors. It sure beats sitting in a rocking chair….but I do use the rocking chair occasionally to read especially History and rereading old classics. We should never stop learning new things..

    1. The Man Of The Hour!!

      Great to see you here, Curtis. Ironic that you mention Orienteering – in my first draft of this post, I mentioned your Orienteering and how it was ironic that you taught others about a skill that is really all about plotting your future direction. Had to delete it for size (I spend most of my editing time working to reduce the size of my posts, and they’re still too dang long!). Thank you for your kind words, I’m honored to be a part of your reminiscing (as you are, and always will be, a part of mine!).

      We should never stop learning new things, indeed. Thank you for continuing to help me learn new lessons!

  11. As long as I can remember, my goal in life has been ‘to be happy’. Over time I have learned that the ‘happy’ will take care of itself if I can just remember ‘to be’ in the present tense.

  12. Fritz, in my case looking back gives me more pleasure presently than looking forward. I am retired for about 18 months and still don’t have enough to fill my days. I volunteer with SCORE but that only fills up a few hours a week. I do some consulting again a few hours a week. I need to either start or buy another business to have something to do, or I need to find volunteer work that will occupy more of my time.
    Lord knows the wife is tired of me being around the house already

    JJ

    1. JJ, I am sincerely sorry to hear that your transition to retirement has been a bit bumpy. Unfortunately, that’s a common experience for many retirees. My wife and I just started a charity, and have found it very rewarding. I’d encourage you on thinking about finding a way to do more volunteering or starting a charity of your own, somehow “giving back” seems more fulfilling than earning extra money at this point in our lives. Hope that helps, and best of luck as you make the adjustment!

  13. Fritz, I enjoyed your post and agree wholeheartedly with the “change” in focus that occurred when I determined I was not planning to go back to work after I was laid off at 53 (2 years ago). It took me a year to determine that I was happy being unemployed/retired after losing my last job, and that is when the change in focus occurred. Pre job loss, My TPA was somewhere around 5% past, 50% present, and 45% future. The present was focused a lot on work and solving the issues and problems of the day/week/month at work. Today, I estimate that my TPA is 70% present, 25% future, and 5% past. The present focus has shifted from work to personal enrichment and spending time with my wife, family, friends, and experiences. My wife is still working so we tend to spend time planning what we are going to do when she retires in a few years so we still spend more time than future. My investment mix and portfolio values are in a comfort zone for me and are mostly on autopilot now, so I do not spend nearly as much time focusing on the future of that aspect of our lives as I do on planning travel, experiences, and where/how we want to live. Thanks for your posts!

    1. Interesting to see another retiree with a shift to “Present” after retirement. Congrats on a successful transition, often more difficult when the retirement was “forced”. Glad to hear it’s going well for you. And…you’re welcome!

  14. Wow. Awesome post. My mantra is to not look back at the shoulda, coulda, wouldas. No sense wasting time. Quickly learn from the past but don’t dwell on it. Have fun recalling the past memories but don’t get too stuck and not be in the present.

    Boston hit a chord – I love that band and remember the lyrics like it was….well, in the past. I have a nasty trend of loving a band and then the band breaks up…..

    Anyway, my, well our, TPA is probably 80% present, 10% past, 10% future. We are not retired but our focus on the present is due to Mrs. r2e’s three year fight with cancer. If not for that, we would probably be more focused on the future as we plan to retire in 2023 if we still can.

    1. “Boston hit a chord”…I see what you did there. Wink.

      I feel for you with the cancer battle. A very valuable point to add to the discussion, it’s shocking to me how pervasive that awful disease is in our world, and I sincerely wish you all the best in your battle. Another reminder of the importance of Enjoying The Present, it’s shocking to me how quickly things can change.

  15. Nice post! My TPA is now 70% Present and 30% Future. I’m 41 this year and I FIRE’d at 36. I can’t change the past so I tend to not look back at all.
    Ultimately I focus on making time for the simple things that bring us joy as a faily. No fancy goals anymore, those have already been achieved. I just try to maximize happiness on a daily basis.

    1. J, great to hear from a “younger FIRE” retiree, interesting (but not surprising) to see the 70% Present applies post-RE regardless of age! It’s a good life when you can “try to maximize happiness on a daily basis”. Congratulations on being a successful FIRE story, and thanks for stopping by!

  16. I like the concept. It’s a different way to look at life.
    My TPA is something like 10/60/40, past/present/future.
    I think it really depends on where you are in life too. We have a small child and older parents.
    There are still a lot of changes coming our way.
    Once life stabilizes a bit, I’d try to focus more on the present. Maybe when I’m 55 or so.
    Great post!

    1. Joe, I’m impressed with your 60% Present given your small children and older parents. Planning for the care of our parents is a major “Future” obligation, and having just taken care of my mother-in-law for the past 7 years, I can attest to the demanding nature of the responsibility. 55 is probably about right, spoken from one who’s been there (I just turned 56 last month!).

  17. Great post.
    TPA explains so much of what I deal with daily as a kindergarten teacher, with 27 years experience.

  18. I love this concept. In my consideration of the future I try and make extra large savings (Anything beyond my budget) if I was more frugal and willing to move to a cheaper area I could almost be FI. Since I am not yet ready to not work/not FI to my lifestyle requirements and am currently mostly enjoying work there is no need to worry about this yet. In consideration of the present I work 4 days a week which is awesome and gives me time to do me stuff (study and hobbies).

  19. Fritz,

    Another fantastic post! I’m currently 5 years out from retirement and my TPA is 15% past, 50% present 35% future. With each passing year my present reduces a little and my future grows. I foresee my post-retirement TPA being similar to yours – 15% past, 15% future 70% present.

    By the way, Boston’s “Don’t Look Back” album was the first album I ever owned as a 12-year-old kid. I too love that song! I look forward to connecting with you next year when we take another trip to Blue Ridge!

    Take Care,

    Tim

  20. My allocation is currently 5% past, 60% present, 35% future. Our early retirement plans are on auto pilot and we’re enjoying the journey, while also keeping an eye out to the future. Ideally we want to relocate again to a lower cost area, so we devote a lot of time and energy to the search during our summer RV travels.

    1. Well played, FE. For the majority of our journey, we took a similar approach. Automate it, forget it, and enjoy life. It tilted a bit more heavily toward “Future” when we got into the final 2 years, but the majority of the ride was very similar to yours. Good luck on your journey, and thanks for stopping by!

  21. Great post, Fritz! It made me think about a great line that I read in Chris Hogan’s book Retire Inspired. Hogan said, “Think about regret like the rearview mirror in your car. You check it every once in a while to keep yourself from making terrible mistakes while you’re driving. But why is that little mirror so small and the windshield of your car so big? Because you are supposed to look forward.”

    I lost so many years to addiction and feel like I’ve been given a second chance at life. I never want to waste another day…ever. Additionally, I’m late to the game of saving for retirement. However, I believe I’m finding a happy balance of working hard/playing hard/helping others. The key was knocking my debt out first, so now I’m able to have a high savings rate while enjoying the ride. 🙂

    1. How ironic he mentioned the rearview mirror! Wish I had that quote before I wrote this post, would have gone great in my intro with the rearview mirror pic in the heading! You’re a living example of the value of not looking back. Your tomorrow is SOOO much brighter, in spite of your dark past. You’re an inspiration for us all!

      1. You can always add it as an edit!!

        Thank you for your kind words. I’m so glad the rearview mirror is smaller than the windshield, but the stark contrast is good to glance at occasionally.

  22. Fritz, this post was very timely and extremely relevant to my situation. I just pulled the plug in April and my last day will be mid-May. (Sound familiar? I’m your North GA neighbor who enjoys fly fishing. Great to meet you via email a few weeks ago!). In this time of transition I have periods where I find myself focused on the past, and then others where I’m obsessed with the future. This post really helps illustrate the importance of finding ones proper balance and making sure that the present gets a big allocation. BTW…another Boston fan here…they were my first concert in 77′.

    1. Snowdog!! Great to see you on my site! Congrats on your very recent retirement, look forward to fly fishing with you sometime in our wonderful North GA mountains!! Jealous that you were able to see Boston, I was never so fortunate….(but, I’m not looking back!).

  23. I’ve been missing the mark on this. Thanks for calling me out! Reminds me of the song “Life to my days” by Doyle Lawson. You may want to YouTube it 🙂

  24. First time here via a link from somewhere else which I have conveniently dropped from memory. Too much trivia to keep in RAM in this era of insty-everything. TPA – Good concept Fritz. So my TPA is probably about 33 1/3% across the board currently with 8 months before I retire in December at 2 months shy of being 66.

    Driving this even split is I am at that age of losing my parent’s (already passed) generation of their friends and my teachers. I have made a point of visiting a now quickly dwindling list of family friends and teachers at least once a year to catch up and to let them know how much I appreciate their part in setting me on the path of my life. Present accounts for 1/3 as I am still working and spending a lot of time training new hires in our recently reorganized design team during work hours and the general day to day tasks around the home. The future is certainly on my mind as there is Medicare, Social Security, finances after retirement, etc. coming at me at a faster pace as each day passes.

    Certainly the present will become a larger slice of my TPA in retirement as I lose that generation of my parents that draws me back to those memories of growing up. And future…………..well, as you say, it becomes a shorter view as we age, lol.

    Thanks for spurring some reflection on the issue of time management !

    1. Welcome to The Retirement Manifesto, Bruce!! Congrats on your upcoming retirement, you’re up for a treat in December!! Your TPA seems reasonable for where you are in life. Kudos for making it a priority to visit those who mean the most to you, it’s important to spend time with those you love while you can! Thanks again for stopping by, hope to see you again in the future!

  25. It was seeing my future in a different way that made me finally pick a retirment date (last year at age 61) and shift more to the present. And I do mean “seeing“. I’m a visual person and pretty analytical. I stumbled onto the Life Calendar poster at WaitButWhy. It has rows of tiny blank squares across the poster, 52 in each row. Each square is a week of one’s life and each row is a year, starting with one’s birth. There are 99 rows. The idea is to color in each of the weeks (squares) you have lived and see your time on earth in a visual display.

    Intrigued, I bought it, taped it up on a wall and filled in all the tiny squares. I was stunned. It’s one thing to say, “Actuarily, I have a good statistical chance of living until age 83”. Its another to see on a big piece of paper that a lot of my life is past and the blank space ahead is comparatively small and getting smaller! The in-my-face starkness of the poster triggered me to pick a date and work out an exit plan with my company.

    Clearly there’s more to the story. My wife and I had accumulated “enough”; we’ve been planful in our savings and investments. I had thought about retirement and knew I didn’t want to die at work, although my career was challenging and I was making a difference. My wife was already retired and she wanted me to join her. So overall I was prepared, but pulling the trigger was kind of free-floating. I was still way more in future-phase. The poster made the difference I needed.

    I’m still filling out the poster each week. The ritual helps me stay focused on the week I am in. I’ve developed other habits which help me stay in the minute-to-minute and hour-to-hour present, but the weekly square is a nice visual bracket for me.

    1. I agree on the power of visualizations, 45P. WaitButWhy sounds like a cool place, I’ll have to check out that Life Poster! I’ve seen some articles which use the same type of visual to show how short our remaining time really is. It’s shocking when you see it laid out against your total life. Glad to hear it was the motivation you needed to cross The Starting Line, hope you’re retirement is going well!

  26. Thanks so much for the article Fritz. It’s important for me to have these reminders on a regular basis since my tendency (as with most people) is to worry about the future, brood over the past, and fill my face with my smartphone in the present. I have gotten much better at this recently, but the more it is reinforced by people like you and the rest of my community, the more it becomes a priority in my own life. Also, nothing spurs action like calculating your life expectancy, Lol! Thanks again : )

    1. You’re not alone in struggling with living in the present. Smartphones have certainly diminished our ability to do that, and your comment is a great reminder of that. I suspect a regret for many of us on our deathbeds will be that we spent too much time on our phones, and not enough face-to-face with the people who matter most in our lives.

  27. Great article. If you are interested to go deeper on the subject of the present moment, may I recommend a book about the subject? “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. He encapsulates the idea of all we EVER have is the present moment, whether or not you are 5 months or 102.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.