17 Months to No

I have read about it in magazine articles, heard about it from others, and now exactly 17 months of this boomer’s transition to retirement, I know what it means.

I am talking about this transition from full-time work to retirement.  It went like this:  arriving home one day, realizing that tomorrow will be full of new possibilities and changing my mindset from guarding my time to releasing my time to these new possibilities.  This meant that instead of saying “No” to virtually everything, I said “Yes” to almost everything.  I felt like, wow, I have been working more than full-time for many years and I have unlimited capacity to take on new things.  It seemed like I could try many new activities and I did.

My post-retirement bucket is now full, and I am back to “No.”

Others said this would happen and I would need to be selective on what I say “yes” to.  And I cannot say that any of my “yes” answers in hindsight should have been “no.”  I feel like the things I am doing are a good variety, are for the most part fun or interesting, and are in the category of making a difference.  Hey, at least I am not sitting on the recliner and spending my life watching TV!

Are there any lessons to be learned?  As I contemplate this journey so far, I have no regrets, simply the realization that my time and energy is not unlimited and that eventually all buckets gets filled.


A Boomer In Transition


My Morning Prayer

Tomorrow morning I start my second semester teaching the upper level Investments course at Bethel University.  At 9:00 am, I will be looking out at 31 students who I will spend time with over 40 class periods between now and December 14th.  I will also have countless interactions with many of the students helping them with resume tweaks, doing mock interviews, connecting them to the business world and having discussions about careers they are considering.

I have already got a start at knowing some of the students by an email I sent to the class a few weeks ago.  I tell them a little about myself, by answering these three questions that I ask them to also answer via email:

  1.  What place do you consider as your hometown?
  2. What is the most interesting trip you have taken and why was it the most interesting?
  3. What are you passionate about?

This gives me a glimpse into their lives before class starts and also provides some early connection points on the first day of class.  By the end of the second week I will know all their names and by the end of the third week, I will know much more about their stories.

Lord, I consider this an awesome privilege and responsibility and ask for your guidance in helping me to come alongside these students  and be an effective teacher, mentor, sounding board, encourager, and speaking truth in love when appropriate.  In your name I pray, Amen.


A Boomer In Transition

Retirement Is . . . A New Purpose

I am going to take a break from the “Retirement Is . . . ”  series this summer and write something different.  Not sure what yet, so stay tuned.

In my quiet time early this morning (4:05 am), I was reflecting on the week that just ended.  It was a week of one ending as I pressed the Submit button and effectively turned in grades after my first semester teaching a college course.  I will get my student evaluations in two weeks so I will see what they thought of it, but my own assessment was positive.  The whole semester was a steep learning curve for me as I found my way and figured out what worked and what did not and made the necessary adjustments.  One objective I had for the semester was to connect students to the business world and I feel really good about that.  In some way, I helped at least 4 students find jobs and that felt like a fulfilled purpose to me.

I also continued my bladder cancer support group this past week.  Our group is the only one of it’s kind in the Upper Midwest and I feel like we are making a difference for people battling bladder cancer.  The chemistry of the group is great and engaging in any number of discussions, thought to be in the category of TMI outside of this community, has been easy.  We have been able to bring in experts to talk about issues the group wants to hear and have a fairly long list of ideas for the upcoming meetings.  It will be very interesting to see where this group goes in the future, but the process of getting it started and on a solid path is an early fulfillment of one of the goals I had for retirement.


A Boomer In Transition

Retirement Is . . . Volunteering!

After months of planning, we finally launched our formal Bladder Cancer Support Group this week.  See picture below:


IMG_0572 2

Ok, same picture, but when you are retired, I am declaring that redundancy is allowed.  We had a nice turnout and good chemistry with the group with a combination of cancer survivors, people currently going through cancer treatment, and caregivers.  This is now the only Bladder Cancer Support group in Minnesota as far as we know, yet bladder cancer is the 4th most common cancer among men in this country.  As most of you know, this support group is an extension of the peer-to-peer mentoring that I have been doing now for about 18 months.

Next month’s support group meeting is already planned so we are off and running with one of the volunteer activities I have really been looking forward to!


Cancer Survivor and A Boomer In Transition


Retirement Is . . . “Do It Anyway” Time

For the last week or so the Mother Theresa poem titled “Do It Anyway” has been on my mind.  I am not exactly sure why or what triggered it, but it did inspire me to read it to my class.  They had not heard it before and I believe it is a powerful and inspiring message as well as a call to action.

If you have not heard it before or read it recently, you can Google it, but it starts with “People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.  Love them anyway.”  There are ten of these in the poem.  In the last few months of my full time career, I was asked to speak on several occasions about lessons learned, reflections on my career, words of wisdom or some other related topic.  I had given this a lot of thought as it was very humbling that people would think I had something important to share and that at least some people wanted to hear it!

After reading through Mother Theresa’s poem (and she definitely had something important to share), I decided to take a few of my lessons learned and put them in the same format.  For whatever they are worth, here they are:

*Sometimes people do not want to hear what is in your heart.  Share from your heart anyway.

*There are people in this world who make little or no attempt to add value to it.  Add value anyway.

*You will often be tempted or encouraged to fight every battle that comes your way.  Learn to lay down your arms anyway.

*When change is thrust upon you, your tendency may be to resist.  Adapt to change quickly anyway.

*There will be days when you won’t feel like being easy to work with.  Be easy to work with anyway.

*The world will want to define you, own you and mold you.  Be authentic anyway.


It took me a long time to learn some of these lessons.  Many are still a work in progress as are many more that I could have included here.  Do It Anyway is a call to action at any age or life stage and in retirement, there is no other time to do it anyway than now.


A Boomer In Transition