“The days you work are the best days.” Georgia O’Keeffe
Four blog posts ago, I wrote “Choose Well” about sitting still so as not to miss the magic. This week’s post is about working, and for the same reason … so we don’t miss the magic.
A phone conversation gave me the idea for this post when a friend almost half my age said, “I’m afraid I’m going to be in my 40s, look back, and realize I haven’t accomplished my goals.”
I wanted to interrupt, but I didn’t, and say, “And your problem is? You’re not even mid-thirties.”
They finished, “I’ll end up feeling like a failure.”
Before I gave into lecturing about accomplishments and age and having time on their side, my thoughts jumped to fried chicken. You know, the fowl fried up by Harland Sanders, the colonel of chicken and founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken at age 62 (after he retired and drew his first social security check). He may have something to say about purposely planning not to work and being without purpose at any age.
I wanted to lecture because, like my friend on the phone, I’m afraid of getting too old to accomplish what I want. If I’d started on my spiel, I would have been talking to myself. I’m happy Colonel Sanders stopped me, and even happier he’s a reminder we’re never too old to dream and live it. We’re never too old for magic.
In the meantime and because I’ve been back and forth on this topic for several years, I met with my financial advisor to review our retirement plan and several options for moving forward with retirement faster. Even though friends who recently retired from teaching said they’d absolutely find something to do besides sit around, I figured my husband and I needed a plan in place for full retirement. I secretly held onto the idea of wanting a lot of time off until I wrote last week’s blog post, “Called to What?,” about finding work we love and working it to the end. We can’t be irresponsible about getting older, but it’ll undoubtedly make our “retirement” plan easier to save for if we don’t plan to retire.
All that said …
We’re rethinking everything. We want one week off a month for the rest of our lives, and, once in a while, two so we can travel. We want something to do, and we want to love it daily. We want purpose. We want to spend time with kids and grandkids, but not end up poster parents for codependency. We want to tap into creativity and maybe tap dance. Wait, I meant line dance. We want to continue most of what we’re doing now. I want to write. John wants to work on our houses.
A friend’s comment on last week’s blog post confirmed what we’d already envisioned for our lives (minus having a baby), but we started changing it up the more often clerks gave us senior discounts and the more often we thought about retirement looming. Sybil wrote, “The Bible does not use the word retire. Moses was 80 going strong. Sarah was 100, giving birth. Watch out world, there is a generation of great people wanting to fill their passions.”
Her comment reminded me of one of the quotes I shared last week. It’s by Howard Thurman, “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
The world needs us to come alive before we retire and die. Once we’ve come alive, there’ll be no time to retire.
Writer Richard Feloni put together an article about “People Who Became Successful After Age 40.” I thought it’d be fun and inspiring to share some of the personalities he wrote about.
Fun & Inspiring
Jack Weil founded a popular cowboy brand, Rockmount Ranch Wear, and stayed its CEO until he died at age 107.
Rodney Dangerfield’s break as a comedian didn’t happen until he appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show at age 46.
Julia Child wrote her first cookbook that launched her career as a celebrity chef when she was 50.
Ray Kroc was a milkshake device salesman before buying McDonald’s at age 52 and making it into the world’s biggest fast-food franchise.
Vera Wang didn’t get started as a designer until she was 40. Gary Heavin was the same age when he opened the first Curves fitness center. Henry Ford was 45 when he created the Model T. My two favorites on the list are Laura Ingalls Wilder who published the first of her Little House books at age 65 and Grandma Moses who started her painting career at 78. Who is your favorite?
#GettingYourOwnLife can happen at any age, and it doesn’t have to be a fancy career like Vera Wang’s or a moneymaker like McDonald’s. It just needs to be work that gives us purpose. We can’t afford to get tired and retire before we figure it out, before we find our magic.
Where are you headed besides retirement?
In This Together,
I’m not sure it’s accurate about Colonel Sanders receiving his social security check, but I included it just in case it is since it makes a great story.
Thanks for the pics, Pixabay.com.