Donna at Retirement Reflections wrote a post outlining a Retiree’s Job Description. I think she nailed it perfectly in highlighting the roles, responsibilities, and skill sets to be a successful retiree.
In our comment exchange, we talked about the need for versatility in skills, especially when it comes to handling the myriad of ‘surprises’ that pop up along the way. I went so far as to suggest that I am not the same person I was 6 years ago when I retired. Donna of course wanted to know why.
My glib comment unleashed a tidal wave of thought that could only be expressed in its own post.
The Old Me
My entire career was logic-based.
I studied Business in university, became a Chartered Public Accountant, and spent a major chunk of my working life in information management, privacy, and security. It was a serious world of right and wrong with endless policies and procedures.
Not surprisingly, I was also a highly stressed person who was chronically sleep-deprived.
When I retired, I was OBSESSED with trying to define the next chapter in my life and I felt rudderless without some kind of a plan. I participated in a newly developed retirement “outplacement” program which included a number of personality tests.
To my surprise, I scored very high on creativity and rather mediocre on logic and organization … the very things I built my career on.
When I challenged the veracity of the results, I was told that creativity shouldn’t narrowly be interpreted as artistic or musical talent, and that perhaps my challenge in retirement was to explore what “being creative” meant to me.
That conversation was a game changer.
In trying to embrace my creative side, I took courses in cake decorating and interior design. I went to Bartender School, discovered photography, and writing a blog about my hiking adventures on the Bruce Trail.
Each new thing I tried became a building block to the next one. I eventually started this second blog to continue building on a new life of discovery.
The New Me
So, why do I feel like I’m not the same person I was before I retired?
By exploring my creative side, I discovered fun – something I realized I hadn’t understood in my stressed-out, high-octane lifestyle.
I discovered the magic inside the stillness of a single moment – the colours, the scent, the warm feeling of contentment.
The more I’ve experienced those moments, the braver I’ve become in seeking more.
I have a confidence level in myself today that I’ve never felt in my life, including the 14 years I sat at the executive table of a large publicly-traded company.
Six years ago I was sent out to find my creativity. In hindsight, I realize I was given permission to use wings I didn’t know I had.