Photo of six people standing in front of their home. They have done vision planning to create their ideal lifestyle.

The Shedders all dressed up for the Women’s Weekly Magazine photoshoot.

Are you good at vision planning?

I think that I’m pretty good at planning for the future. Perhaps planning is an inherited trait. Either you are or you aren’t. There are those of us who plan from when we open our eyes in the morning to when we close them at night. (It’s possible that planning is going on even in our dreams.)

For me, the bad thing about planning is when I overdo it. It can squeeze the life out of any spontaneity and fun.

The good thing is that planning can lead to getting what you want. And that might be even an optimum vision of your life.

I wanted a couple of key things when I hit middle age. To one day retire and live in peaceful surroundings, not far from the beach. And to be able to continue teaching but at a gentler pace than I’d experienced when I lived in the city.

Fortunately, we spent many of our holidays with two couples who shared my bucolic vision. When we talked about doing something about it, the first steps we took were in the area of vision planning. In the spirit of fun, we created individual, couple and group five-year plans. We bought a piece of property together with a big green shed on it and named ourselves The Shedders

It was helpful for me that I’d been teaching a module at Nature Care College that had trainee yoga teachers do vision planning. Near to the end of the trainees’ teacher training, they were encouraged to think of their future selves. Who were they going to be and where would they be in their teaching careers five years down the line? It was an intimidating exercise for those who had trouble imagining five years into their future. But a vision is not necessarily a commitment. It’s just a map that you can travel on as far as you like. Or you can even create a new itinerary if that is a better option.

Have The Shedders fulfilled their dream?

It’s been twelve years since we became The Shedders.

If you’d like to read about how The Shedders’ vision was realised, you can read any number of articles about us. In fact, there are radio segments, podcasts and even television appearances. It would seem that how-to-do-retirement-better is a popular subject. You can find the latest Shedders’ interview in the February issue of Women’s Weekly Magazine.

What I’ve noticed though is that there are not many people doing what we’ve done. I believe our success hinges on vision planning. 

My lovely housemate Heather has written a book about us Shedders. She lists the steps to help retirement dreamers fulfil their visions. Then they can make the move from mere castles in the air to a home and acreage in the country. Have a look at Heather’s 12 easy lessons.