Our identity matters and, at 2Young2Retire®, we strongly advocate a forward looking approach to identity. Kim Potgieter, author of Retiremeant: Get More Meaning from your Money, in a recent interview by Dorian Mintzer, reminded us of the importance of retiring to something not from something. “I am a retired teacher” or “I am a retired salesperson” may reflect our past identity, what we have retired from. But what is your identity now? What are you becoming?
Thinking about being a former something, a former executive, a former teacher, represents the space between who we were and who we are yet to become. Consider the question, “Who do I want to be after this transition from a career just ending?” Here is an exercise that may help with looking forward: Take a sheet of paper and draw line down the center to create two columns. At the top of the left hand column, write ‘How I see myself now’ and at the top of the right hand column, write ‘How I would like to be.’ List your perceptions of yourself now in terms of areas such as ability, competence, relationships, income, roles, etc. Then write down who you would like be in the future. Consider who you are becoming; be purposeful; retire to something not from something.
Paul G. Ward
The news that CVS will stop selling cigarettes has been received with acclamation and at 2Young2Retire we enthusiastically join in the applause for their action. But there’s more! Here is what Larry Merlo, President and CEO of CVS Caremark, said: “Ending the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at CVS/pharmacy is the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health. Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose.” (CVS Caremark press release, February 5, 2014).
This reference to purpose was overlooked in much of the press yet, for me, this was an essential part of the message. The CVS purpose is, “Helping people on their path to better health.” Living life on purpose is vital for people inside and outside of organizations, for people of all ages, and particularly for those of us in the second half of life. I don’t know how much the work of the leaders and employees of CVS is consistent with their stated purpose but I was impressed by Larry Merlo’s reference to purpose in the press release. I will be watching to see how well CVS people live according to their purpose: “Helping people on their path to better health. It’s our purpose, our promise, our passion … every day.”
How have you described your purpose? How well are you living on purpose every day? What does purposeful aging mean to you?
Wherever you are on your journey of transitions, I hope you will find time during this Thanksgiving week here in the US to take a mindful transition pause. Many of us are experiencing or anticipating transitions in our careers and in our lives. These transitions are rarely easy and we can easily fall into a period of depression where we feel disconnected from our past, dissatisfied with the present, and uncertain about our future.
To avoid the mindless transition pause where we feel lost between two worlds, letting go of our past identity without knowing our true identity, or unable to replace the job we recently lost, it is time to become more focused, more intentional, and more purposeful about the future. A mindful transition pause is a time of reflection, letting go of the past to allow space for the future to emerge, a place for you to simply be, in preparation for what is to come. An excellent place to start this mindful transition pause is in the place of gratitude. Expressing gratitude for the past and for the present creates the space for a more conscious, purposeful, and fulfilling future.
My thanks to Madisyn Taylor for introducing me to the mindful transition pause in her inspirational daily OM (http://bit.ly/I2bwpN). Continuing in the spirit of gratefulness, thank you for reading this blog and thank you for your emails and calls. These connections help us at 2Young2Retire to help you, wherever you are on your journey.
I will end this post with a Quero Apache Prayer: “Looking behind I am filled with gratitude. Looking forward I am filled with vision. Looking upwards I am filled with strength. Looking within I discover peace.” I wish you a mindful, purposeful, and happy Thanksgiving!
Congratulations to swimmer Diana Nyad on her successful Cuba to Florida crossing. Diana’s success came on her fourth attempt at the age of 64. Emerging from the water at Key West on September 2, 2013, Diana is reported to have told waiting TV crews: “I have three messages: one is we should never ever give up; two is you are never too old to chase your dreams; and three is it looks like a solitary sport but it is a team.” After three previous unsuccessful attempts, this dream may have seemed impossible but Diane never gave up chasing her dream. Diane is the first person to swim from Cuba to the US without a shark cage. Whatever your dream, and however impossible is seems, today’s message is: dream the impossible dream then make it happen.
If you’ve been there, done that, perhaps you are ready for a different kind of travel experience, one where you quit being a tourist and actually contribute something to the people and places you are visiting. Some folks have found an outlet lecturing and teaching on cruise ships in exchange for the voyage, which could be a good way to get your feet wet, so to speak. But if you think cultural immersion is more your speed, consider these examples.
Susan and David Cooper, 60-something world travelers, recently spent a week in Spain, helping a motivated group of business people hone their conversational English skills with Pueblo Ingles. One week of accommodations and food (both rated excellent) in exchange for their services; they paid their own airfare. Barcelona or Madrid, anyone?
Global Volunteers is an organization that puts the skills of experienced professionals to use in the developing world in what it calls a volunteer vacation abroad. Goals are similar to those of the Peace Corps: an interchange of ideas and cultures that enable volunteers and their hosts to learn from one another, but for shorter stays. World travel enthusiasts Herbert and Phyllis Goldberg are active Global Volunteers. Their first assignment took them to Vietnam for three weeks, where they “taught conversational English, advised in the hospital and medical clinics (Herb is a former plastic surgeon, Phyllis, a marriage and family therapist), taught medical and psychological policy and the American way of life.”
Your English language skills could also get you a job abroad for a longer period of time. The Oxford Seminars TESOL/TESL Teacher Training Certification Course offers a 60-hour in-class course. Graduates receive an internationally-recognized certificate and six months of free job placement assistance through its teacher placement department.
Where in the world would you like to teach? asks World Teach, a non-profit, non-governmental organization founded by a group of Harvard students in 1986. World Teach “provides opportunities for individuals to make a meaningful contribution to international education by living and working as volunteer teachers in developing countries.”