There are very few moments in life when you can intentionally change what you are doing and decide how YOU want to live – maybe for the rest of your life. Retirement seems to present that opportunity and challenge.
Long before I decided I needed to retire in February of 2018 and take a special break at the ripe age of 70, I reflected about my life in a very general way. I had spent my younger years working to create an identity, like we all do. This was not a plan at all but more a situation I had inherited shaped by a set of linked events and relationships.
Once on my own, I chose the the family life with a corporate career path, my Plan A. There was one brief young marriage that did not work out and then one that did. Before I knew it there were 3 children which turned out to be the source of much joy of my life. On the career front, I worked first in the financial industry. That led to an interest in software technology as banking was one of the first industries to recognize the benefits of automation. I began working with software companies and banks until I thought my efforts could be put to better use by channeling my own ideas and energy to create my own business.
Anyone who has started a business or been out on their own as a contractor knows the joy and suffering of that lifestyle. It’s a rollercoaster ride. The thrilling expectations, high energy and freedom to do what you want are soon tempered with the difficulty of constantly seeking new business and adapting to client demands and constantly changing technology. To make a long story short I ended up creating a few new businesses and then drifting back and forth between them and re-entry into the corporate employee lifestyle. But the thrill was gone, especially in the last 10 years.
Unexpectedly, in my Plan B phase, especially after I turned 60, I gravitated toward personal interests and lost interest in my business career. The grandkids came (6 of them) which became a new joy in my life. An unlikely thing happened when I found myself starting a non-profit called FreeWalkers that promotes the benefits of walking. How that happened is a long story for another time. Then there was a growing interest in cycling which is where this blog will begin.
So, retired at the age of 70 I’m working on a new Plan C. To me is now how I choose to enjoy a meaningful life when I know my time is limited. That’s the story I’ll create as I explore the joys and limits of a guy getting old.