After a lot of discussion and long consideration, I decided I was ready to retire. I know how much I will miss many of the people I have shared office space with and I certainly will miss my clients and the opportunities they have given me to solve their problems and to be part of the planning for their future and often their retirements. But the time had come and I knew that if I could take a year to say goodbye, I could move on.
It seems that once you announce your retirement you get one of two reactions. The first comes from those who have gone before. They tell you how great it will be and how you never realized how many things you never had time for. The second group wants to know what you will do. They are fearful, I suspect, that I won’t feel fulfilled. I found myself detailing out my retirement and wondering if I was just making this stuff up to appease them.
I have decided to take a different tack. With apologies to the writers of Sleepless in Seattle, here is how I am going to start answering their question. I’m gonna get out of bed every morning….breathe in and out all day long. Then after a while I won’t have to remind myself to get out of bed every morning and breathe in and out….and, then after a while, I won’t have to think how I had it great and perfect for a while.
The problem is, I can’t tell if people send you through this maze because they are jealous of your decision or if they are genuinely worried about you. I am hoping for the second. I have had a great career, twenty five years of teaching children the beauty of math and its ability to solve problems and then nineteen years of working with adults, helping them lay out plans and encouraging them to stay on track. In between, I managed to do over 12,000 tax returns, work on construction crews to build dozens of homes and apartments and even spent a couple of years as a bartender. The common thread in all of this was all the interesting people I met along the way, that I learned their stories and enjoyed the opportunities to assist them in any way I could. I have had a rich career and I doubt I will fail in retirement.
I am going to heed my own words. After a short vacation, I will come to appreciate that I have no obligations and in that freedom I will follow my passion. I will volunteer when I need to be fulfilled. I will travel when I need stimulation and I will write when the mood strikes me. But above all I will try every day to fill my life with memories just as I have for the past 44 years. Hopefully I might even succeed in writing something somebody will enjoy reading.
Stay tuned…I have just begun to be.