Learning to Retire

retired-happy-guyAs I passed the six-month anniversary of retirement, I’m still trying to get my sea legs. But I’ve learned a new way to think about this new chapter in my life: I’m not retired… I’m Free! Free to deploy my talents, time and gifts in new and exciting ways.

Nothing really prepares you for this phase of life. There’s no rehearsal. There’s plenty of advice, but until you actually walk the walk, its all just words.

I know, intellectually and spiritually, that my true worth is not a result of my work and accomplishments. But that knowledge runs counter to the culture in which I live. So the idea of not drawing a regular paycheck for services rendered sometimes leads me to question my significance.

Its not that I’m sitting around every day in my rocking chair, eating Bon Bons. I’m working hard on the film project and launching Belltower Pictures. I’m enjoying doing some freelance video work. And I’m helping out as a volunteer on other projects. I’m finding time to read and exercise more. But most days, the schedule is “flexible.” Quite  different from the way I’ve spent the last 46 years – focused on deadlines, production, and checking off the to-do list.

Now I must admit to frequent struggles with:

  • guilt… I see younger people working hard, getting up early, struggling to move forward in career and business. And since I still have lots of energy and passion, I sometimes feel guilty that I don’t have to get up every morning and go to the office.
  • doubt… Did I retire too early? Should I have stayed on until the normal retirement age instead of leaving at age 62?
  • fear… Will the retirement funds hold out?

Several retired friends have said that retiring was the best thing they ever did. I’m confident I will say that one day. Not yet. But for now, I’m basking in new-found freedom,  learning exactly what that means, and eagerly anticipating what the second half of life will bring.

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