I (Joyce) first retired in 2006 when Tom and I sold our company. That lasted a mere 4 months until I became a COO-for-hire and—to my amazement—found numerous firms that wanted to pay me to do this job. Although I worked for multiple companies between then and now, I ended up spending the majority of my time with one firm. I first worked 60+ hours a week for them, realized I didn’t want to do that anymore, and gradually reduced my hours over the years to where I only worked 25 or so hours a week in 2013 and only 15 in 2014. After all, I needed time to travel—especially when we recently spent four glorious months in Asia. But there comes a time when zero hours a week sounds even better and, with great ambilivance, I announced that I would be retiring. After training multiple people to take over what I did, I finally left on August 31, 2014. Now, a few weeks into retirement, I have several new perspectives:
- I postponed retirement for a long time as I could never figure out what I wanted to do next—plus I like working. I spent many conversations with my husband, family and coach trying to sort this out over the years. I felt that you needed a plan for retirement to make it is good retirement. The answer is…do more of the same and be happy. Life isn’t scripted and will throw you interesting opportunities when you have the time to explore them.
- When you are ready mentally prepared to retire, you are ready. I honestly wasn’t ready before. I wondered what it would feel like to not care about what was happening with the company I worked with and how I could solve their problems. Fortunately, I was able to flip the switch. The more duties I gave up, and the less I knew about the daily goings on, the easier it was to leave. It took some time to stop worrying about the firm, but I am working through it.
- I was very saddened and disappointed by the number of people with whom I worked that never called—or emailed–to say goodbye. As they say, the cream rises to the top. Enough said.
So what is retirement like? As the French say “incroyable”. We spent the first few days with my sister-in-law and her BF visiting us. And, let’s not forget my “nephew”, Divot, a yorkie.
We went to a painting class where we copied Van Gogh’s “Starry Nights” (mine is on the right, Tom’s is on the left).
For the first time, I was able to spend more time with people visiting us and not feeling pressured to work. Then, we went off to Colorado for 10 wonderful days of being with our dear friends as well as hiking in the Rocky Mountains.
No more waking up at 6 AM and rising quietly so as to not wake up Tom, to do email and make phone calls so that I could enjoy the rest of the day while travelling. No more worrying about how the company would make payroll. No more worrying about the people. It is freeing, uplifting. Much more than I ever thought possible. Don’t get me wrong. I loved working or else I would have stayed retired in 2006. I love coaching, mentoring and helping people stretch. But as I grow into this next phase of my life, I see how I can use these skills and enjoy more freedom and less responsibilities. My brother made an interesting point a while back. As he contemplates his future retirement, he is spending time now exploring various types of activities that he will undertake when he has more time. But as I have cut back my hours over the past years, I was able to expand my activities that I hope will fulfill me as I have more time. These include:
- Travel. Tom and I always worked travel into our work lives. But travel without a work life will be more relaxing, No longer will I request that we find a place where I can make a skype call or wifi to respond to emails (when overseas). Nor do I need to rush through dinner to get back home to finish work.
- Wine. I am on the Board and am an officer with the American Institute of Wine and Food (www.aiwf.org). Although right now our travel schedule means missing multiple board meetings, I do hope to have the time to be more active in the wine industry. There is so much to learn here and I’d like to know more
- Finding my new passion. Work (and travel and spending time with Tom) have been my passions so far. I do like other things, like working with my hands and creating. Perhaps I will finally take a course in electricity or building. Maybe find the time to finally learn Spanish or bone up on my French (I used to be fluent in it). Or maybe help Tom more with this blog. Or spending more time with my sister—who I view as a great friend. Who knows. But now the only thing holding me back is me
So don’t be surprised to find more blogs from me as I embark on my next adventure.