On March 31st, I celebrated my first year of ‘retirement’. I put the term in quotes, because I don’t know that the word ‘retired’ is applicable – if you scramble the letters around, I think you get to a more appropriate description of my state of mind – ‘tireder’ and/or ‘retried’. I had grown more and more tired of trying to retain a culture and philosophy that in an evolving firm had become outdated and probably to some, pretty hokey. I had tried too often to excite senior management about employee engagement, accountability, career development, and the joys of communicating in any manner that didn’t require technology. At the risk of redundancy, I was so flippin’ lucky – I worked in a firm that embraced me and my crazy commitment until I realized that it was time for me to pack it in. I wasn’t going to be able to contribute anymore – the train was pulling out of the station and I chose not to buy a ticket.
But – it’s still an anniversary. I should get a present or something (note to self – talk to husband). It’s been a year of tremendous growth, with incredible highs coming from places I would never have expected and dark blues that I hadn’t anticipated which gripped some days with vice-like intensity. I’ve learned that retirement doesn’t separate you from your convictions (I know, big duh if you’ve been reading my blog) – I still care as passionately about the principles I followed when I was working full-time. I’ve learned that you are not going to be defined by what you did for a living but how you lived while you were working. Over the course of this past year, I’m sure I have been vilified and canonized – perhaps even at the same time, remembered fondly and with derision – that is the territory of all who have experienced extended employment tenure. And I’ve learned that it really doesn’t matter – what counts is my continued love and commitment to the people who have remained my friends.
I discovered that working independently is both freeing and lonely. A side benefit of going to work each day is having people to engage with, who are also struggling with intense workloads and challenges as well as lives outside of work that they are struggling to stay connected to. The transition from 200 emails in my inbox each morning that required me to accelerate from 0 to 60 pre-coffee, to coffee and the paper first with no rush to get out the door wasn’t easy (though I have come to LOVE it). Connected to that intensity was the implicit need that others had for me in one way or shape or form, and I liked that. Finding a new rhythm was a challenge – knowing I had a groove, but not knowing where the hell I was supposed to dance. Consulting has provided an excellent segue for me – allowing me the freedom of self-exploration with the structure of developing meaningful programs and training opportunities. It’s also given me time to hang with my kids who are local (when they’re not working or with their spouses), go to the gym, make some new friends, be a better friend to my old friends, and continue to fight with a bit more focus on a body that keeps throwing me medical surprises and loops for which I’m never prepared. That old Faces song “Oh La La” reprises in my head “I wish that I knew what I know now/When I was younger”…
Finally I have learned that there are phenomenally talented, generous people out there in Bloggerland who teach me something new every time I read their posts, share a conversation online or exchange a ‘shout out’ in appreciation for their tremendous efforts. These virtual friends evoke very real emotions within me – I celebrate their success, try to answer the questions they pose of their readers, laugh, etc. Sometimes it feels like there’s lots of virtual hugging going on – and quite honestly, long may it continue. These writers have inspired and humbled me. When I started this in mid-January, I had no idea what I was doing. I still don’t – but now it doesn’t bother me as much. There are many more who have been more successful, but there are unquestionably few who have derived more delight and connection than me. So, Happy-Sorta-Anniversary to me…may new adventures still greet me each day. “Life was meant to be lived. Curiosity must be kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life.” — Eleanor Roosevelt (and agreed to this day, by me :-)).
13 thoughts on “A Very Happy Anniversary Of Sorts”
Keep it Rollin’ Mimi…inspiring…
Thanks David – of course you know that you are one of those ‘cyber’ friends that I feel so incredibly lucky to have met. Your talent humbles me – and yes, with that I insist on having the last word. Carry it with you today. 🙂
Happy anniversary. Always like reading what you have to share. I agree with you, it is a very different world today. I used to tell young commanders, “You can’t lead from behind a computer screen. You need to look into a soldier’s eyes to see if they are ready. That is the only way to know if the fire is there.” It’s still true, but too many try to get the answer through text messages and email. It doesn’t work very well. Technology has its place, but…
Have a great day and many more wonderful years sharing your wisdom.
Thanks so much Richard – I too look forward to your posts and perspectives. I think the pendulum will eventually swing back towards a more balanced approach towards communication and connection – but right now, I couldn’t agree more – a monitor doesn’t do much except show a blinking cursor…Look forward to reading/hearing from you soon, Mimi
First, happy anniversary. I am certainly glad we connected and I feel I am a better person for it. Speaking of, I found you through Frank Ryan. Do you know what has happened to Frank? His site has been marked private and his twitter account has been completely erased. If he chooses not to write, then that is certainly his choice, but the abruptness of it left me concerned.
My last exchange with him was three days ago…
I have no idea – I sent a twitter thank you to his account a couple of days ago, but didn’t hear anything back (which in and of itself was not surprising because it was a thank you)…Given all the wonderful thoughts that he expressed, I hope he hasn’t stopped writing. Most importantly though, I hope he is okay. If I hear anything I will send you a message. I too am glad we were connected through Frank – something else for which I am grateful to him.
I always felt you were one of the very best things about working for the firm and for 15 years I depended on your wisdom, kindness and encouragement to see me through some difficult times. I loved just knowing that you were at the helm, setting the tone for how we treated our staff and ourselves in our ever changing environment. You helped make this a wonderful place to work and you taught us all so much. I now look forward to your blog postings with eagerness and gratitude that I can still learn from you. I’m happy you remained true to who you are even if it meant losing you. I’m watching you find your way. It gives me hope for my future in the “retried” world to follow. Please don’t stop, I still need you.
Ok, you did it – you got the tears thing goin’…It is so good to hear from you and to receive such a wonderful, heartwarming message. I don’t have the words Miss Allie, but know that you are in my heart always, and I remember some of our HR adventures and challenges with both amazement (that we were faced with some of these conundrums) and joy (we got through them in the right way). I’ll always be here – and you always know how to find me..thank you and hugs, m
Happy-Sorta-Anniversary to YOU!! 🙂
I so hope one day I chose not to buy a ticket and be able to take a solo road-trip to engage in my passions. *one day*
You will – I can tell by the way you write and the joy with which you think. People that special will always find karma giving them a chance a choosing which ticket they would prefer to purchase…
…not what you did for a living, but how you lived while you were working. What a great line! Happy anniversary, and keep on bloggin’! You’ve helped me realize how much better off I am away from a toxic environment.
Seeing you smile and laugh without the threat of stress storms brewing in your eyes is proof enough for me that you are definitely better off in a less toxic environment. Finally a chance for your patients – and you – to truly thrive!