There’s nothing I would retire for, so I won’t retire.  ~ James Earl Jones

There’s a theme this month ~ can you see it? I just noticed as I was scanning over the past few entries; I am clearly saying, in a not so clear voice, that the way we have been thinking about the time period known as retirement isn’t what today’s reality is. Long gone are the days of retiring at 62, falling ill soon thereafter and being considered, “very old” by 75. Along with the company gift of a watch upon ones retirement (and what the heck do you need a watch for when you retire?!) some things have gone by the wayside. And I think this is a good thing.

For this last week of July, I’d like to challenge you to start imaging what is going to work for you. Not your neighbor, not your kids but you. Do you want to keep working at the same pace or perhaps take it down a notch? How about beginning to cash in some of the travel miles you’ve logged with your airline of choice to go places you want to go instead of out to Cleveland again to sit in a conference room? How about, shock of all shocks, going back to school and starting in on another career altogether?

We have role models all around us, which is nice. There’s my neighbor, Edith, who will turn 100 in December and only gave up her work as a volunteer about 5 years ago. Amazingly enough she took over her husband’s business when he died unexpectedly well before his 50th birthday and she worked at that until she ‘retired’ at 65 to volunteer! For not the first time, I noticed on a recent trip to a National Park that a goodly number of service people in the lodges were retirees who work for the season, enjoy the park and then return home at the end of the season. To a person they all said they loved it; they got to know the park, made some money and had lodging to boot. Have you noticed anyone who has crafted their retirement years a bit differently?

We surely can get bummed out and if we want even a bit depressed but that’s not necessary by a long shot. If you have heard me say nothing else it’s that we all have control over how we choose to see things, the attitude we take on and the energy we put to something. Sure, it is hard to think about how to craft the next stage but it is also exciting. Can you hear the difference in attitude?

While I’m challenging you to think about retirement differently I’m also going to ask you to drop me a note with a sentence or two to tell me the 3 words that pop into your mind when you think about what’s next. Simple, right? Quick and simple to let me know!

Wishing you all the best for your mid-summer month!