This is that stage of life that we move to when we decide that our regular working days are over.
When we are fresh out of school, we are excited to begin our full time working career. Our whole life is ahead of us and we give little or no thought to retirement.
In many workplaces, selections have to be made about our participation in IRAs or 401Ks. and once that is done, most of us forget about it. We then focus on our job, career advancement and other more immediate things.
In some vocations, retirement can come early. These include the military or government service duty. These retirees are still pretty young and though retired from that particular organization, are not ready to stop working. So we seek out other job opportunities and continue our daily grind.
Then, one day, we start to think about retirement and not doing the nine to five or six to six routine any longer.
We want to retire and get out of what some call “the rat race”.
So, we retire from our place of work and are now set to start the next phase of our life. In some cases we have planned for that. We want to downsize our homes and reducing our time and effort to maintain it. A condo, apartment or senior living place become the right fit.
We may also be tired of our location and the nasty, cold winters we face. Snow shoveling isn’t in the cards anymore. So, we look at warmer climates where snow and ice are no longer a fact of life.
In other cases, we find that with a reduced income, living in what may be a high cost area isn’t workable. So, we look to more affordable locations. Or, we are happy living out our retirement years, right where we are and so we nestle down for the duration.
But there is another part to retirement.
We now do not have our daily grind and have done it for so long that it has become a part of us. We hated having to get up at a certain time, and deal with the stresses of the day. Then we got home sometimes at ungodly hours. It is what we are used to. And we miss it.
We miss the hustle and the bustle and the daily interaction with co-workers, clients, vendors and others. We may also feel that we are no longer needed or necessary. When we worked, we were valued for our skills and paid for them. That is all gone and we now live on our IRA, 401K, savings, Social Security or some combination of these. But, we no longer get a paycheck and we miss that. And we miss the interactions and the kudos we got for a job well done.
When I retired from the company I ran and help found, I missed those things as well. I was not ready for the retirement of playing golf every day and kicking back and laying in the sun.
During my career I had many experiences that impressed certain thoughts on me.
They shaped me to think and act the way I did . After certain instances, I would say to a co-worker, that deserves to be in a book. I continued to collect those experiences, usually saying the same about each. I collected them and that is where they stayed, as my collection.
Now, as a retiree, I had no reason not to write that book. So, I wrote down what I thought were the main stories I had to tell and I wrote my book around them. Once written, I sought out people to help me refine it. They helped with editing, illustrating, marketing and administration. It became a prime focus and occupied a lot of my time.
While working on the book, I was also busy with other things. These included joining:
- The local Chamber of Commerce
- The local Manufacturers Association
- An incubator for startup companies as a mentor
- Our state college as an Advisory Board member
I continued to write and publish articles for various magazines. All the while I was working to get my first book, entitled, “What About the Vermin Problem?” ready for publication and print.
That besides settling into a new home in Florida consumed my year. But it wasn’t all work and no play. My wife and I attended many fairs and concerts, visited parks and beaches, and joined various social groups.
In 2020, things continued to stay busy.
I worked on growing my LinkedIn connects. I joined Medium, a site for sharing articles with others while absorbing theirs and also joined the Thinkers360, a site for sharing business thoughts with people around the world.
My first book. “What About the Vermin Problem?” went live in February. I was touting it through social media and lined up many speaking engagements to present it. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Live speaking engagements were out, so I worked to do podcasts and webinars instead.
I also got some consulting work with a local testing company that occupied a day and a half a week for 8 months. I hooked up with my alma mater, Rutgers University and did a guest lecture to seniors and helped to evaluate their senior projects. and, I was invited to serve on the education planning and review committee.
A friend of mine took over as the associate provost and Vice President and COO for the O’Pake Institute for Economic Development and Entrepreneurship at Alvernia University. He thought of me to teach an online course on Project Management. By accepting, I am now an adjunct professor for this great institution. I will teach a 9 week class on Project Management to business people.
I also got immersed in writing a second book, “Influences and Influencers”. It was released on Black Friday. It hit the best seller on Amazon, as book one did. Only 3% of our population actually writes and publishes a book. I did two in one year.
As before, my wife and I stayed busy despite the pandemic.
We traveled a few times to Alabama to see our son, daughter-in-law and the grand kids. This included spending Christmas with them. We got to some fairs before that stopped. We saw our daughter in Tampa often. And, we had dinner with friends at each other’s homes and dined out weekly at various restaurants.
We also got to go out west in September and visit 5 national parks and see the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City. We have been anything but homebound and plan to do much of the same, going forward.
I am planning out 2021.
There are lots of opportunities to write more. I have an offer to co- author a book. I plan to do some more consulting. And I will work with students at:
- Rutgers University,
- Lehigh University
- Pasco Hernando State College
- Alvernia University.
I am so happy to give guidance, knowledge and advice to our young people as they start their careers. It is the least I can to help them and these great academic intuitions.
So why am I so busy you might ask? For starters, I get bored easily. I have to stay as busy as I was when I was working full time.
No one told me that retirement meant stopping all previous activities and playing golf and having lunch with friends every day.
Being retired gives us the chance to do some of the things we enjoyed when working full time.
But it is now at a different pace and with a choice about what to do and who to do it with.
It also allows us to try different things. In my case that is writing, teaching and speaking.
When I was working and running a business, my main focus was on making that successful. So, I devoted much of my time to that and did little of the other things, which I considered a non-priority at the time.
Now, I have other priorities and the time to do the things I had previously put aside.
I enjoy writing and sharing my thoughts, knowledge and experiences with others. Through that I want to help them to get through their difficulties and be as successful as they can be.
The same goes for speaking. While it is great to write about things, verbal conversation is always the best way to go. Interacting with others and seeing their reactions and answering their questions is to me the best way to communicate.
And then there is teaching. A while ago I had taught as an adjunct at Northampton Community College many moons ago and had been a TA at Lehigh University and did some guest lectures there after I graduated.
Hopefully, I am now older and wiser.
I want to share my acquired knowledge with students and business people who want to learn and succeed. There is a lot to offer and want to definitely share this with others. People who read my books say that they wish they had had them when they were younger. It would have helped them much in their careers. It still can and is now available to those starting out.
To me retirement is not about stopping everything you were doing and taking it easy. That is fine some of the time, but there are still things I want to do to stay active and useful. And it is great for this old dog to learn and use new tricks. As smart as I think I am, there is still a lot I don’t know.
So, what does that mean for you?
Am I advocating that you follow my path? Maybe?
It depends upon you and what you are comfortable with and what you want to do with your retirement.
Some people say, “I put in my time. I am done.” Others want to travel. They weren’t able to and didn’t do so before. Now they have the time and resources to do so.
Whatever works for you is fine. Stay active. And share all that knowledge that you gained. It helps others and keeps you viable and useful. One thing you cannot teach is experience. It Is learned through many tries and attempts, successes and failure. But, you can share your experiences with others. That helps prepare them for what is in store for them. The fewer the surprises in life, the better.
Don’t waste a great life by keeping it to yourself. It is said if you have done it and talk about it, it isn’t bragging. Helping others is one of the most noble things you can do. And they will appreciate you for it.