This week I finally jumped into retirement with both feet. I guess I’ll have to explain that one.
Today I was taking my regular two mile walk on the path around the woods and lake that comprise my “backyard” and began to ponder (which is what I do, after all) what I had done yesterday. Specifically, I “retired” after more than 24 years with the Wyoming-Kentwood Area Chamber of Commerce and attended my last Board of Directors meeting. I explained to my colleagues and friends that it was finally time for me to fully adopt the retiree lifestyle. Well, what does that mean?
At the beginning of 2017 following my tenure as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the chamber I decided to declare myself ‘retired’ and stopped taking on new consulting clients. I would inform people that I was retired, but I kept up with chamber service and my business website and blogs, maintained my support commitment to my business partners, and nothing else really changed. I chose a new lifestyle, but never committed.
Well, this week I committed. I decided to give notice at the chamber, shut down my business websites and blogs, legally close my business, and notify business partners. My notice to the chamber was my first true step down this new lifestyle path I’d chosen five years ago. I pondered as I walked and acknowledged something that I knew but really had to experience for myself, that you can’t just decide to retire, you need to actually retire; to leave old commitments behind, to eliminate the mental clutter surrounding your previous lifestyle, to actually change what you are doing, and to execute, to follow through on the decision.
Yesterday’s chamber board meeting was a liberating event for me, the personal declaration that my service was ending, and recognition of my service from friends and colleagues. It felt like I finally took the first step along that fork in the road toward a new lifestyle. It freed me to make more decisions like what to do with old business files, what to do about other personal commitments, what travel plans I need to make, and on and on. The dam had burst, and I was riding the wave into exciting new territory.
I don’t know if all of you retiree friends of mine have had this same experience, I hope not. I went through it because I’m a pensive procrastinator, a slow decision maker, and a compromiser. I’ve been an agent of change my entire career, but I’m not good at it myself. And I worry about the impact my decision will have on others, so much that I discount the impact it will have on me.
And now, all of a sudden, I have a lot to do, and a lot of changes to make. Which is ok, because it’s an exciting new lifestyle, full of possibilities now that I’ve finally …
Committed to a new path … Pops