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[EXCERPT] Avoid “the Monday morning after.”

Many retirees will tell you that the first Monday after retirement is one of the toughest days of their lives. No matter how much you’ve thought about retirement and planned for it with family, friends, and your advisor, those first couple days without work can be jarring. You might feel a profound loss of identity now that you’re no longer a doctor, engineer, or CEO. You might find yourself staring at a blank weekly calendar, wondering how you can possibly fill all that time. And without the drive to execute important work tasks, collaborate with colleagues, and provide for your family, you might feel like you’ve lost your purpose.

Taking a spectacular vacation isn’t going to erase all those anxieties. But filling in the first big block on your retirement schedule might lead to you scheduling another big bucket list item, and then another. Planning for the activities ahead will give you something to do; anticipating them will give you more and more to look forward to. Pretty soon you’ll be excited about filling in those smaller blocks as well, with things like sports, online learning, volunteer work, or shorter trips to see friends and family.

Taking a big vacation after retirement can also be a great way to unplug from one phase of your life, reflect, and start planning for the future. You might even use some of your travel experiences as cornerstones of your new retirement schedule. If you fall in love with a new cuisine, take some classes when you get home and turn dinner time into its own mini vacation. Explore your destination on foot and you might find you want to make walking or hiking part of your morning routine.

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