I haven’t met one person that hasn’t struggled with letting go of a lifetime of work. With each consecutive career-dedicated-year, you believe your work defines who you are. After all, you have more time clocked at the office than with family and friends. The work related community that you have worked with knows you and you know them….. and now, whether through attrition, economic changes, or just “burn-out,” you find yourself work-free!
Well congratulations! It’s time to set sail for new horizons, build new interests, travel (short or long distances), and enjoy every deadline and stress-free day that comes your way. You have earned it! Here’s what I have found after four decades in a business I built from the ground up.
Truly I could never have imagined living without an appointment-to-appointment day. I was always seeking out new clients, meeting with employees, coordinating appointments, and continually creating other self-induced commitments. The day was always chock-full of time-eating minutes. Now that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the work, and the challenges, and sometimes the moment-to-moment stress when that popped up. Everything was exciting and it was a thrill. But here’s what I was missing. I live in a very exciting city with cultural activities pouring out of every pot-holed block. Museums, the opera, concert and performance halls, theater, and movies, that were sometimes just a stroll away, were put on the back burner. That’s because I was just too tired to enjoy any of these activities after work. Weekends had too many family commitments and neglected chores to attend to. Getting together with friends was limited. Basically, I was a gerbil habitually running on a never-ending work related , day-in and day-out treadmill. It left basically no time for social or cultural opportunities that were out of the realm I served.
After 40 years of constant attention to the business, I can honestly say I am enjoying my newfound freedom. Firstly, I am back doing what I have always loved and that’s writing a column, or in today’s social media jargon, a blog. I can edit my own copy and write on any subject I would like to address, how liberating is that? Next, I have always wanted to give-back in some form or another. I have found two charities that I am passionate about that are utilizing my skills. (Below is one of the charities, the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation, that is having a fund-raising event next month. Join us if you can. You will be benefiting a very worthy organization).
The Samuel Waxman Research Foundation Event in Bridgehampton, NY
And, I am able to enjoy many of the entertainment and cultural programs during the day or evening hours. My biggest thrill was to be able to enjoy a movie matinée during the week. I haven’t done that since I was a teenager!
I am busier than I have ever been at any time but in a different way. What I do, I do at my pace, at my dedicated time, and I choose who I want to work for, and what I want to work on. Best of all, I am free of responsibilities.
The moral of this story is: Don’t regret the end of a lifelong career. Instead, reinvent yourself! It’s a positive effort and rewarding experience. Find an interest and give it a try. You may find you really like your new life!