Monday, March 1, 2010

Chapter Two

I just came home from a cocktail party. That's where I get some of the best material for my writing and speaking. I've found that people like to talk about retirement—especially when I get past the jokes and retirement stereotypes and get to the heart of the matter. What will I do all day?

Tonight I was talking to a friend that retired in July. I'll call him Aaron. Aaron is 57. He said he could have worked until he was 62 or 63. It's not that he was in a hurry to retire, but he did wonder what else he might be able to do. Aaron made the decision to retire not so that he could sleep in late or play golf all day. Instead, it was so that he could be in a position to take on different challenges and explore new interests. Aaron was concerned that if he waited another five or six years that he might not have the interests or energy to try new things. He didn't want his life to be only one chapter.

In this second chapter Aaron has set himself up with a part-time consulting position. With this he loves the challenge of learning new technology and keeping up with the pace of his younger colleagues. Tomorrow morning he has to catch a 5:20 a.m. train for New York. Not exactly what most people want to do the morning after a cocktail party, especially if you're retired. Yet, when Aaron left the party early to finish the last details of tomorrow's presentation, he had a sparkle in his eye. He's looking forward to meeting tomorrow's challenge. But the best part is he doesn't have to get up every morning to catch the 5:20 a.m. train. By being retired Aaron can enjoy the best of work and still have time for the best of life. That's what he wants to do all day.