Sunday, January 18, 2009

Creative, Playful, People and a Little Risky

In one my first posts, I suggested that any HarvilleQuarter should include elements of learning, growth and satisfaction. At the end of the 3 months, you will have gained knowledge and/or technical skills (learning), grown as a human being, and experienced the satisfaction that comes with learning and growth. Accomplishing these three things suggests that the particular HarvilleQuarter was a great choice for you.

Now I'm going to add a few other elements that would contribute to a really satisfying HarvilleQuarter: creativity, playfulness, people and risk.

A HarvilleQuarter that brings out your creativity - and requires you to be creative in new ways - will enhance the learning and growth aspects of the experience. Retirement is a great time to find out that you can be creative in ways you hadn't previously imagined or were too self-conscious to attempt.

Playfulness is another great attribute for a HarvilleQuarter. When I was growing up, senescence was sometimes referred to with the euphemism "second childhood," which was not a compliment. However, maybe we should "re-brand" that term into a positive - a chance to be playful when you have the time and self-confidence to spend time just having fun. Bear in mind that for young children, the best learning often occurs in the context of play. That may prove true for retirees as well.

HarvilleQuarters can also earn bonus points if they bring you into contact with people whom you would not otherwise have met. We're never too old to make new friends and find interesting people to share our HarvilleQuarters activities. If you start frequenting jazz clubs, poetry readings, clown school, political campaigns or community gardens, sooner or later you're going to see some of the same people repeatedly, strike up a conversation, and who knows where it will go from there.

Finally, I've decided that a really great HarvilleQuarter should feel at least a little risky. Can I really pull this off? Will other people make fun of - or disapprove of - me? Will it take me into a new world that's completely unfamiliar? What if I don't enjoy it as much as I hoped? Will I have the stamina to accomplish everything in my plan? Experiencing some of these concerns as you're planning your HarvilleQuarter is a good thing - a quarter that's completely safe will probably not provide the learning, growth and satisfaction that you're looking for. Come on, take a chance. (At your age, what have you got to lose?)

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