I didn't expect retiring to be so hard.
I had nothing but great expectations for retirement. Another life transition? "No big deal!" I thought. I relished the opportunity to finally live my life on my terms without the constraints and stress of a regular job.
I have always considered myself someone who welcomes change. I had come a long way from my small-town working class background to a career in higher education. Along the way I survived a health crisis and the death of my mother. I gained weight and lost it and gained it again. And in the most surprising and wonderful change of all, as I turned fifty I found the love of my life and married her in my sixtieth year.
I retired in 2012, took a Hawaii vacation, and then I did whatever I wanted for six months. My plan was to develop a new relationship with time. I thought that would be enough.
I wasted a lot of time not having a plan.
I quickly learned that retirement is a massive life transition that I just wasn't prepared for. I had the money piece figured out, but I hadn't appreciated how much meaning and social connection my job gave me. I didn't anticipate the effort that would be required to re-create these on my own.
My life purpose had come so easily when I was working. I showed up to work and my job gave me everything: it gave me my schedule, my wonderful colleagues, the opportunity to use my noggin, and the conviction that I was doing good and worthy work.
Now I had to reconstruct my social network, my wellness routine, and my purpose. I needed reasons to get out of bed in the morning. I kept searching for what I should DO. I volunteered, became a board member, did some consulting, and developed plans for businesses that never launched. I helped out friends and family. I had time to be more present for them. I was more relaxed. That felt great.
But I still couldn’t find what I was looking for. I wanted my go-getting mojo back.
What am I going to stop doing?
Making myself small.
Apologizing for being an older woman.
Assuming my money will run out, my older body isn't sexy, my brain is mush, my presence is irrelevant; my identity as a useful, purposeful member of society is over.
I discovered coaching.
Gradually I began to figure it out. I started working with a wonderful wellness coach after a couple of health scares left me feeling old and vulnerable. That experience changed my life. I relished the accountability of working with my coach to set new goals and meet them, which was so inline with my work identity. Goals provided a structure to my time and progress in my life.
I learned that purpose isn't something you DO.
Finally one day everything clicked. I realized that purpose wasn’t a job title. It’s a feeling. It’s the texture of life. It comes from living all the areas of my life from a deep sense of who I am and what I am here to do.
I realized that I wanted to help others through their retirement transitions more quickly and with less angst than I went through. Now I help people just like you leave your organizations knowing that you've done all you can to set your people up for success. I help you design a retirement roadmap that will guide you for the journey ahead. I help you live with purpose and joy wherever your path may lead.
I don't believe . . .
that life goes downhill after 60;
that filling the days with random activities is enough;
that life changes once, then stays that way;
that we suddenly turn stupid at 60;
that old dogs can't learn new tricks;
that getting older is about losing control.
I don't believe in waiting for "real life" to happen later, down the road.
Real life is now. Let it begin.
I trained to become a certified coach.
I trained with the Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC), accredited by the ICF, and became an Energy Leadership™ Index Master Practitioner. Through coach training I learned to use powerful questions to help my clients discover the answers that lie within them, remove the limiting beliefs and fears that hold them back, and take action to live their best lives. I also hold Masters degrees in Public Administration from California State University East Bay (formerly Hayward) and in Education (Instructional Design) from the San Jose State University. I earned my BA in Psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. I worked for over 30 years at the University of California, Berkeley and Office of the President creating educational change and innovation. Please see my LinkedIn page for my bio.
Learn more about my coaching style and packages here.