January 30, 2011
Are you stressed? Are you overwhelmed? Burnt out? If the answer is yes, and it is likely to be, then consider my 90 day plan. As many of you know, I believe in the concept, “Live Wellthy.” Living “wellthy” means investing, not only in your financial retirement fund, but in your physical, emotional, nutritional and spiritual retirement funds. My 90 day plan is how I handle my emotional retirement fund.
Most of my patients have a “someday” emotional fund. Someday, I am going fishing in Europe; buy a home in Arizona or some such dream. Today, I am going to work to make the money to pay for “someday.” In the meantime, I’m overstressed, burnt out and, maybe, a little miserable. The problem with the “someday” model is that “someday” often never arrives. There are a multitude of reasons for the failure of the someday model: illness or loss of a loved one, economic downturns and age, just to name a few. We have been taught to save for retirement, nurture our nest egg, and prepare for a rainy day. The “someday” model seems to make sense, doesn’t it?
Actually, it doesn’t make sense to be so stressed today, always working towards a “someday” scenario. Now, consider the 90 day plan. The 90 day plan states that, once a quarter, you take at least a 3 day weekend and do something memorable. If possible, take more time. Do something just for you, with or without your spouse. Personally, I leave my wife, the mother of my children, at home. I take the girl I fell in love with 34 years ago, my best friend and lifelong playmate.
The beauty of the 90 day plan is that, for the 30 days prior to leaving for vacation, I get excited. I look forward to enjoying a new experience. For the 30 days following my vacation, I am rested and actively sharing and enjoying the memories. The middle 30 days are the difficult time. I count the days, only 59, 58, etc.
I admit no system is perfect. The money I spend on the 90 day plan and the time I take off now is costly. I will have less at retirement, assuming my generation really can ever retire. Twenty seven years in practice has taught me that retirement is not what it is made out to be. If you can remember the good times, have teeth to chew your food and the ability to eliminate, then at 80, you really don’t need much money.