11 August 2023

Retirement ruminations


It has been a reflective period – well, for the past 2 years! Let me explain. 

It was around 2 years ago that I announced the plan to retire by the time I hit 64. Not 65, I needed to do it before that mini-milestone of getting to your mid-sixties. Getting old(er) is quite a phenomenon and the need to address a change in mindset felt important. What also followed was that after I hit 60, my body started to remind me that this adjustment of mindset needed to happen quickly!

What ensued was a fair amount of soul searching and the eternal question - (for me anyway) - ‘what do you want from life after all’? Did I really want to retire and leave behind a decade-plus of the best career years of my life? Not just the rewarding work but meeting wonderful people some of whom I am so happy to call my friends. With too much to lose I started thinking and reflecting more.

Maybe an abrupt end would not be so attractive after all.

During the low years of my breakdown and recovery, I established that one of my values is helping others to believe in themselves, something I so needed to aid my own recovery. Becoming a coach has been the best career move I ever made. I have felt so privileged to see people open up and trust the relationship and, in many cases, find out so much more about themselves, their strengths and immense qualities. People can be so impressive if only they are allowed to witness themselves fully.

So, I thought, why should I leave that behind? The beauty of this work is the high level of flexibility it offers. After further reflection, my announcement changed to ‘Can I reduce the level of my work?’. My ever-empathetic co-director, Jane, then encouraged me in making that decision on what could be the right approach/compromise for me. 

This current announcement feels right even though the parameters of it have not yet been established. What will ‘a reduced level of work’ really mean in practice? How will I feel about not ‘running the show’ with Jane, the way I have been for so long?

With mixed feelings, what helped this year as a reminder of the need to change, have been 2 operations. Having never had any operations in my life and then the need for 2 was a wake-up call that slowing down may not be a bad idea. The first one was a minor op which came and passed without much to report. 

Three weeks ago I had a hip replacement operation. There has been a two-year build-up to it but it was during the immediate post-op recovery period that I was afforded the luxury of further time to reflect upon the balance I seek in my life. 

Now I have a clearer and more solid feeling that I will be doing the right thing by not fully retiring. Thankfully the physical recovery is going well. I feel much privilege in my self-development taking me to a point where so many choices are still within my control and influence. So my mindset is now rather set to go for it and stop the over-reflection/thinking!  

Having previously looked at how much I would lose, because of the new order of things to come and finally adopting my mindset of going for it instead, is highly liberating! 

Thank you for indulging me in these ruminations but I will end by saying once again – do not underestimate the power of coaching. I went through this whole process by coaching myself! If you want to have a chat about that contact us.

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