A funny thing happened on the way to retirement. I realized: I’m not done yet. After accepting an exit package from a large corporation, I enjoyed the chance to step back, take in the scenery, and decide what’s next. My surprise on viewing this new landscape was in the discovery that even as a senior adult, starting a new career was still an option.
So, what do I want to be now that I’m grown up? If there’s one thing I’ve learned along the way, it’s that I don’t have to decide what I want to do forever. The real question is: what do I want to do right now? And, just like when I was 17, a thousand passions conjure up ideas, including being in a rock band. The difference from being 17? I know that settling on one isn’t a life-long commitment. So, how deeply do I want something becomes the bigger question? How much time, energy, and money (this round is not on Papa’s dime) do I want to invest in any of these interests?
Let’s break that down. How much time am I willing to invest in training for a new career? Ten years? No. Four years? No. Two? Maybe? Six months? Sure.
Next, is the energy question. This is a tough one when the world seems to be changing fast while I’m slowing down. Again, a thing I understand now that totally eluded me at 17: I need to enjoy the journey, not just focus on the goal. If I’m enjoying the learning process, the learning will be a source of energy, not a drain.
Money. I’m on a fixed income. The real conversation is not just about money. It’s about commitment. The battle between the dreamer and the realist isn’t entirely over how much can I afford. Rather, will I see this plan through?
As I explore these questions, I find myself feeling renewed. I get to dream again like a 17-year-old, only this time with the wisdom my parents tried so hard to instill in me. They would find that funny, and be pleased.