I’m still in disbelief how I got this old this quickly. But here I am–one of those baby boomers who are changing the way we define, “retirement.”
I enjoy my state of denial most of the time, but then I get those not-so-subtle reminders. You know–like the time you first wondered if your doctor is old enough to shave—let alone realizing he is young enough to be your son. Then there’s the time when you go to the movies and the attendant gives you the senior discount without you asking. But there was no escaping the message of getting my letter from Social Security earlier this year giving instructions about when I would be eligible for Medicare next year.
I was never one of those people who pictured myself driving a golf cart in my retirement–frankly, I knew I could never afford it. And that was even before the economic meltdown of the last few years. Despite knowing my biological clock was ticking, it took a few shakes and a kick to get me moving to discover what was next for me. If this sounds familiar–read on!
You know when you look at those maps in the mall or in a park and look for the “You are here” symbol? See if any of these describe where you are now:
Corporate Soldier: You’ve put in your time and have had a long career–sometimes feeling it is a lot longer than the number of years on the calendar! The last few years have been particularly stressful. With every reorganization or right-sizing, you worry whether you’ll be next. You come home exhausted, but keep vowing you are going to take some time and “figure out what’s around the bend for you.”
On the Bridge: You’re already on the retirement bridge. There’s no “someday” about it. The day is now and the only thing that stops you from moving forward is that it feels so overwhelming.
Been there, done that: You did the practical thing and had a career that provided for you and your family. But there’s something more out there for you. You have a few ideas what that could look like, but you haven’t done anything to narrow it down.
Something more: You don’t have a clue what “it” is, but you know there’s something more. If only you could figure out what that is.
Option E: All of the above
It wasn’t too long ago when I was exactly in the same spot (yes, I would have picked ”E”) I kept thinking, “There’s got to be something I could do that would be more fun than this. I should start thinking about it…”
That never happened until my friend, Jackie (www.spiritgemsconsulting.com), became a coach. When I learned Jackie was becoming a coach, I knew it was time—no more excuses. Jackie helped me discover lots of things about myself I had buried. My confidence grew and by the time I got laid off, I at least knew the direction I wanted to go (not that I had done anything about it!)
Many of you have already heard my story, so I want to share a bit about one of my first clients—Virginia Jurkin. Virginia gave up her corporate career and savored the days being Mom for her now 9 year old daughter. Virginia contacted me when she was realized she was ready for some additional challenges. Having had a successful career working in some very well-respected companies, we naturally started exploring jobs that built on those experiences.
As time went on, though, it became evident that going to work every morning and returning later in the evening was not a schedule that fit her anymore. Virginia quickly realized how this change would impact everyone in her family as well.
With so much being done virtually these days, we began exploring the possibility of working from home. I remember Virginia wondering whether working from home would give her the people contact she craved. I assured her that while she wouldn’t have co-workers sitting next to her in the next cubicle every day, there would be lots of opportunities to meet with people for marketing, networking, support and maintaining her business.
It wasn’t hard to discover Virginia’s passion. It was evident that the years of being a care-giver for her mother in law during her last days had made a memorable impact on her. While many of us might have felt depleted by such an experience, for Virginia–it provided a mission and a purpose. She felt it was an honor to help her during the final chapter of her journey here on earth.
Like many of us mortals, Virginia felt over-whelmed at times—but continued to put each piece together until now (drum roll), she is now open for business. As Virginia talked to me with compassion and respectful humor about her first client, a woman suffering with Alzheimer’s, I experienced the difference she would make in so many lives with her new career. Check out Virginia at www.assistancewithliving.net.
No one gets how easy it is to put off daunting goals more than me—I’ve done it several times in my lifetime. Just like getting serious about losing weight—the first step is getting committed enough to take that first important step. Find yourself an accountability partner (friend, family member, coach, mentor, career club) that keeps you moving forward one step at a time. But when you find a goal that is both scary and exciting—that’s where the juicy life can be found!