Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Returning Freshman

A recently retired woman attending the 50+ Living Expo was lured to my booth by the 10-foot high banner: The Retirement Experiment. Once I explained the symbolism of the chemistry beakers and the concept of experimenting in retirement, she said, "I feel like I'm back in college and choosing a major…deciding what I want to do with my life." 

The more I think about what she said, the more I believe that retirement is like being a first-year college student. In retirement, we're back to choosing the next direction for our life. The difference between now and when we were 18 years old is we don't have to choose the right major. We can experiment with different interests and passions. We can change majors—and our experimenting won't delay graduation. This is not a journey to a diploma. It's a journey of discovery and how to orient ourselves to a new way of living.
Image result for college campusLast week I was on a college campus to attend a 7-week continuing education seminar series. A rush of college memories returned as I rode my bike to campus, searched for Day Hall, walked into a roomful of people whom I didn't know, and asked two women if I could join them during the lunch break. Everything was new again, but also very familiar.

I have been down this road before, deciding what to do with my life. I'm a returning freshman and on a journey to discover new majors.   

How to be a returning freshman?
  1. Put yourself in different situations.
  2. Be the first person to say hello and introduce yourself.
  3. Take notes on what you are discovering and learning about your interests. Don't be afraid to change majors.
  4. Get outside of your comfort zone. You won't discover the unexpected—a new major—if you stick only with the familiar. 

Copyright 2016. Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Retirement Cocktail

"What do you do?"

This is the proverbial cocktail party question that can haunt you if you're newly retired. In my seminars I encourage participants to have an answer to this question before stepping over the line into retirement. And I remind them that the question is in the present tense.

At a recent program I must have been placing too much emphasis on coming up with an answer that protects one's ego, or gives too much power to the person asking the question, hoping to meet his or her standard for an interesting life. That's when a man in the back of the room raised his hand and said, "When I'm asked 'what do you do?' I tell people that I'm figuring it out. I view retirement as a time when I get to create balance in my life. Until now, so much of what I've done has prevented me from living a balanced life."

That's when I came up with the idea of a retirement cocktail—a perfect blend of what you want in your life. Not that everything has to be perfectly balanced. Like a good cocktail, not all ingredients are in the same amount, and yet a little dash of something can have a big impact.

So, how would you like your cocktail? What ingredients do you need to create the perfect balance of flavor? If you have read a wine list, you're familiar with the lengthy descriptions of flavors and characteristics. I encourage you to write your own cocktail description. Have fun with this exercise. And mix it up—you don't have to stick with the same drink year after year!

Here's my version of the Retirement Cocktail: A beautiful life full of gratitude. An expanded life full of energy. A creative life full of awe. A shared life full of connections. A meaningful life full of service.

Copyright 2016. Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.