Wisdom Story: What is Retirement?

I often reflect on the words we use. The more conscious we are about our words and their underlying meanings, maybe we can get more in touch with how we feel about things.

 I'm sitting in a cafe in the Old Town of Stockholm....in wonder of the bustle around me. I feel blessed with the freedom and privilege I have to observe and learn. Yes, I retired a couple years back, but I'm fond of calling it my 'next chapter' because I never really feel 'retired.'

 What is Retirement, anyway?

 Decades ago, I had a project in Chicago and my aunt and uncle invited me to stay with them.  It was a welcome change from hotel and Food-to-Go.  One morning, as I was preparing to go to my project, my Uncle Matt was sitting in the front room.  He had retired a couple years back.  I had always felt a sense of peace around my Uncle Matt, like nothing could shake his gentle demeanor.  But there he was, sitting in the living room.  No apparent agenda.  No To DO list in front of him.  Not even today's paper in his lap.  Just there, looking out the window.  I sat down and asked him, Uncle Matt, now that you're retired, how do you spend your time.  I LOVED his reply.  "I retired so I don't have to answer questions like that." His eyes danced in his response.  A perspective to live IN to, wouldn't you say?

 When I announced that I was retiring after 28 years, my youngest daughter looked at me, wide-eyed.  And uttered, "You Can't!"  I responded that I wasn't retiring from LIFE, just my job.  I have much more work to do in the world.  Her eyes softened and melted into a smile that I will hold in my heart forever. 

 Searching for a New Word for Retirement

 I'm sitting in this Stockholm café and reflect on my newfound freedom and I think of the word, Retired. What does retired REALLY mean anyway, I smile as the word Retired floats across my brain. Re-Tired. Nope, it surely doesn't fit how I loved my 30 year consulting career nor the renewed energy I feel to work towards my life mission that came after that magical retirement date.   It was merely a gate that I passed through on that day. 

 We need a new word!  

  • Re-mission (no….that won't work)!
  • Re-invent?
  • Re-vibrant?

 Comment below with other good alternatives to "Re-Tired"


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