I ran into a former small town retailer like myself the other day. We had always enjoyed sharing our stories, our ups and downs, and the joys and trials of retailing. Marty and her husband, Dave, have recently retired. Their business was still very viable but health concerns and burn-out had taken their toil and it was time to sell out. Selling out required banks to provide financing and in this economic climate, banks are being very difficult. They had three excellent potential buyers, but none could persuade a bank to give them a loan. So Marty and Dave were forced to liquidate their business. Not what they wanted to do, but still time to move on.
But the part of the conversation that most caught my attention was Marty's comments about adjusting to retirement. She was struggling with what to do next and instead of feeling relief that some burdens had been lifted, she was almost panicky about what would come next. She talked about several things she thought she might do, but, like most of us, when she had the time to pursue these things regularly, didn't really seem to like any of them.
I had forgotten what that felt like. I told her it would sort itself out in time, but not in a short time. She had only been retired for about 3 months. Most people I have talked to about this, found that it was several years before they settled into a new pattern. Almost every "retired person" I know, of whatever age, has had this experience. Discovering those new passions, new activities, new friends, new beginnings, a whole new life, takes a long time. Longer than anyone anticipates. We so look forward to those days of retirement and then many of us struggle with how to make those days fulfilling and rewarding the way we expected them to be. We discover that some hobby or activity we always thought we would pursue with abandon, is not really as joy-producing as we expected.
Eventually, maybe 2 0r 3 years down the road, after much experimenting and soul-searching, most of us find the purpose, the passions, the new beginnings that nurture our spirit and bring joy to our life. When that happens, and when we realize that it has happened, it is such a relief. Then we are truly free to pursue our dreams and goals wherever they lead.
If you are just beginning this journey of discovery and feeling overwhelmed, don't give up! The answers are out there if you keep searching. And the reward is great. The peace of mind discovering your new passions brings to your life spills over into all of your days. While no one has a perfect life, this new sense of purpose leads you through the down times and makes even the up times just a little bit better. Hang in there! It will come when you least expect it.
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