I am ready to retire for the fifth time. What? Yes, I’ve already “retired” four times. The first was taking early retirement at age fifty-five from my demanding corporate position and transitioning to my own business as an organization consultant and leadership coach.
Transitions are challenging. Still I had major projects to pursue. I didn’t think of myself as retired, since I had client work and special projects. Also, I became a faculty member at JFK University in the Master’s program for Organization Psychology.
Over time, I had learned too well that I needed to organize/structure my life if I was going to be productive and manage multiple projects. I was successful at doing that…perhaps too successful. Throughout my life, I have also been committed to making a contribution and giving back to others, to my community and to the world.
Before I left from JFK University, I created and launched The 3rd Act with a mission to help others transition to retirement. I began to slow down my consulting practice. But a long-desired project was calling…uncovering the secret story of my grandfather. Thus began my genealogy journey.
I discovered that I needed more time, so, I “retired” from JFK University. Then, I journeyed to the locations my grandparents had lived in search of information about their lives. Soon the genealogy project became a writing project. I “retired” the third time from my consulting practice and soon after, turned over The 3rd Act to my business partner and “retired” for the fourth time.
A Goal Reached: Writing My Book
I wrote about launching this historical fiction writing project when I was 70. Between the research and the writing, the project was 5 years in the making. But writing and publishing wasn’t the end of the project. I had to do substantial promotion and marketing to get my precious book, Sarah’s Secret into the world. Well, promotion and marketing are not my strongest skills and after two years, I grew weary. Now I’m ready to let the baby go on its own. Since I have met my goals in writing this book. I am ready to retire for the fifth time.
More Spacious Days
I want more unscheduled and uncommitted time. No longer am I interested in structuring and managing my time as I always have. I want more spaciousness in my days. What would I like to do?
- Dally more in the genealogical tree of my ancestors;
- Exercise and take care of my body;
- Spend more time with my friends (illness and death are reminders that we won’t all be around forever);
- Enjoy my grandsons before they head off to college and begin their own careers;
- Travel to other countries and to places I haven’t seen in the US;
- Catch up on reading the magazines and books that have stacked up;
- Take walks and hikes to refresh and re-energize in nature.
My Purpose Changed
But what is the purpose in those wants? Where is the meaning? Am I making a contribution? I’ve discovered that my purpose in the past has been about accomplishing and producing a result. It was about doing something that made a contribution to others and to the world. I no longer care so much about accomplishment, productivity and getting things done. Now my purpose is about being… being a friend, a partner, a companion, a tutor, a presence, a supporter, a volunteer, a contributor, a role model, an inspiration…being healthy, informed, active, thought provoking, vital and …Alive!
How have you experienced this stage called “retirement?” What tips can you offer about the transition? Are you still “doing” or have you settled into “being?” And, how do you feel about it?