The New Retirement

I went to a wedding recently and was seated next to a charming gentleman, who politely inquired about my occupation. When I told him that I worked with Baby Boomers who did not know what they wanted to do when they grew up, and did non-financial retirement coaching, he gleefully informed me that he was retired. When I asked him for how long, he told me that he had now been retired for 15 years and had not worked a day for pay in that time, now he only worked for charitable causes. In his former life, he had been a high-powered executive at a very large, well-known corporation.

During my fourteen years of working as a retirement coach, I have only had four clients that choose not to work for pay. So I was quite intrigued to hear this man’s story. After he retired, he went to clown school! He told me how he had researched the few schools out there to find what suited his desires and then took on clown school with the same zest as he had with his corporate endeavors. His agenda after clown school was to utilize his new skill as a clown for the local children’s hospital. That was most fulfilling and brought him a great amount of joy, while he brought a laugh and a smile to those kids.

His next educational adventure was to attend culinary boot camp, something he had wanted to do for a long time, but had never had the time. This training also brought him great joy, just in another way. Cooking for his family and friends is now a weekly occurrence.

What impressed me most about this man was that he had clearly made a successful transition from his corporate life into his retirement. He appeared happy, content and full of life. In fact, he possessed great Luster, one of the words Dr. Johnson uses in his book, The New Retirement, to describe those who are living in the present with” inner radiance, glow and personal brilliance” and not living on their past laurels.

What a great role model this gentleman is for his peers. In fact, I think I will call him up and see if he would love to join me at the next workshop I present. I know that his story would really enthuse and inspire many people, just as it did me. And I am debating whether to ask if he would wear the clown suit!

How will you keep your luster in your retirement years? If you could take some fun, yet meaningful new training or schooling what would it be in? And if you never had to work for pay again, what would you do fill your time, and how would you “BE”?

Joanne Waldman, M.Ed., PCC, LPC, NCC, NCGC, Master Career Counselor

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