Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Change in Priorities

What does a bum knee and birthday party have to do with designing a fulfilling retirement?
A lot. Let me explain.

I decided to mark my 55th birthday with a special celebration—a reason to bring together sisters and daughters, and at the same time be physically challenged. The Tufts 10K women’s race in Boston presented the perfect balance of effort and enjoyment.

I reserved hotel rooms, booked dinner reservations, and decided on a sub-55 minutes 10K training schedule. Little did I know that a yoga class would derail my training and targeted goal. Due to a knee injury, I had to settle for walking instead of running. I had looked forward to running a great race—defying my age and running past women half my age. Instead, I got something much better.

I can’t boast of a 55-minute race and yet this was one of my most rewarding races. Why? 

I learned that my need for connection takes precedence over my need for achievement. 

If I had been able to accomplish my race goal, I would have done it alone.

Kim, Patrice, and Laurie
Lessons from this weekend are captured in one picture—a reminder of two competing needs—achievement and connection. I can choose to focus on the race clock, which is the slowest time I have ever finished a 10K race, or focus on the connection I experienced with my sisters. It’s a choice.

Which brings me to retirement—the perfect time to re-evaluate our priorities. 

Throughout our careers we have been driven by achievement—the next rung on the ladder. And while achievement still has its place in retirement, we need more. Without connection, achievement is superficial. 

But start with connection and add achievement, you have a winning combination!

Note: Although I ran my slowest race, I walked my fastest race: 12.1 minutes/mile.