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.

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