Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Retire On!

Travel, becoming empty nesters, dealing with an aging parent, and aches and pains are all common mid-life adventures.  Most are fun; some are life-changing.  But for us so far, nothing can compare to our recent experience of retiring. 

After coaching clients to and through retirement for the past 35+ years and writing a book about it, Kathy and I woke up retired Friday morning, November 3.  We gotta say, it feels pretty damn good, and we’re not bored yet.  My office put on a fun party for us, almost as much fun as our wedding, with over 200 people attending.  They also blew us away with THIS SURPRISE VIDEO.    A big heartfelt thanks to everyone who attended.

The boring part of the video
We’re humbled and grateful for everything and everybody that got us to this point, and the reality of retirement hasn’t sunk in just yet.  This wouldn't have been possible without loyal clients, supportive allied professionals, and an amazing team.   Our gratitude is much greater than whatever success we may have had.  

The days and weeks leading up to November 3 were surreal.  When you own your own business, so much of it is intertwined within your personal lives.  It’s part of your identity. It takes a lot of unwinding.  As I cleaned out files from the company hard drive, it was both a liberating and sentimental experience.  “Hey, I won’t need this anymore.”  Or, “Ah yes, I had forgotten all about that—I wonder who else would care to see this,” and so on.  Now, my name is scraped off the door, and I'm perfectly at peace with it.  
No more me on the window by the door.  Feels great!

Fortunately, we worked part-time the past three years and did so from home.  That made the transition easier and gave us a taste of possibilities.  We didn’t dislike what we did—in fact, we rather enjoyed our work.  But we just didn’t want to be tied down by schedules and commitments.  And with my emergency stomach surgery one year ago, we realized just how short life can be.

We’ve been in a euphoric state of mind since the party, but it has been overshadowed by our disappointment that we had to cancel our November 7-December 18 Nicaragua-Colombia-Panama trip and our February Tanzania trip.  Kathy’s back has gotten worse since our return from Morocco.  Some days she can walk a mile, some days barely a city block.  The MRI indicates that surgery will be needed.  We’ll know for sure on the 27th.

The good news is that we now have this big whiteboard of possibilities before us for the next four months and the chance to learn what retirement is like when we’re not traveling.  (Leave it to me to find a pony in a roomful of manure!).  Meanwhile, we’re still in a peaceful state of mind and savoring each other and each moment of it.

What will I miss? 
Our fun-loving and amazing team.  We will greatly miss them!
Our clients, some of whom are so fun and delightful, that I just couldn't believe I got paid to work with them. I hope I can remain in touch with them.  I've had the privilege of knowing some wonderful human beings over the years.  I'll certainly miss the team and former colleagues and the excitement and belly laughs we had every day.  However, with the office just three blocks from our condo, I'll stop by often.  They're good friends and like family to Kathy and me.  

What are our plans?
Our motto has been:  "Always make your future greater than your past."  We intend to keep living up to it in this next life adventure.  We are committed to keeping Salem as our home base.  We have too many friends here (many of them are clients) to just uproot ourselves.  We have big overseas travel plans (some of which are postponed), and we're going to continue our community involvement. I'm looking forward to mid-week activities, such as snowboarding, taking long bike rides, and snagging a campsite on the Metolius River, as well as daily things like more practice time on my drum set, reading, writing, and longer workouts.  Above all, we're both looking forward to a slower pace and spontaneity in our travels and daily routines.
One of many fun
client gifts!

Retire on!