Chicago's Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson announced that he's retiring at the end of the year. He's been a police officer for more than three decades. What's he going to do next?
"For the first month or two, I'll take some time to take a breath and really look at what I want to do moving forward."~Eddie Johnson
He doesn't know what's next? Sound familiar?
For most of us, this is what our life was like for decades:
The alarm clock starts to beep. Loud! You reach over to turn it off. It's six am. You shake your head and muffle a curse or two....maybe more than muffle. It's time to wake up.
You shower, dress and start the commute to work. You reach the office where you spend the next eight hours....sometimes longer...sometimes much longer. The work day finally comes to an end. As you head home, you're relieved the day is done, but that doesn't last long. Six am comes early. That alarm clock/shower/commute/work life starts again...and then again...and then again...and so on.
Not so suddenly, you've reached your mid to late sixties. You've been living the work life for more than forty years. You've been doing the routine for so long that you no longer think about it. It's become natural. It's part of your being.
At some point, you've had enough of the work life. You want to relax. You want to slow down. You're ready to retire. This is supposed to be your reward for those many years of six am alarms. This is supposed to be the time to enjoy the rest of your life. The golden years.
But....I ask again, what's next? It may be the time to enjoy your life, but how are you going to fill that time? That's the issue many of us in our sixties face. For a lot of seniors, their work defined them. What do you do when the work is no longer there?
The thing I hear most is spending more time with their family. It sounds nice, but it's not easy to do that. In a lot of cases, it's not possible. Your children have their own lives...their own families. At the time when you aren't busy, they are. It's that damn circle of life/cats in the cradle thing.
Yeah...so again, what the Hell is next?
Travel? Golf? Reading? Writing? Making furniture? Fishing? Exercise? GOING TO THE SENIOR CENTER?!
Hell...that last one makes me shudder. That's one step from playing Mah Jong!!
Seriously...none of this is easy. It does sound nice to sleep in every day...and it actually is...if you don't have sleep issues. But after awhile...and it doesn't take long, you get bored of doing that.
Here's the deal...there are two things you have to do:
a. You have to find something to replace your job. Something that you love. It doesn't matter what it is, just do it. Sitting around your house watching tv all day will bore you...and probably bore you to death.
b. Talk to people! When you leave you job, you leave a lot of your human contact. If you live alone, and there are a lot of seniors who do, you'll find there are times when you don't talk to anyone. A couple of years ago, I noticed there was a two day period where the only people I talked to were the bus drivers and the checkout folks at the grocery store. Scary! Don't be that person.
So to Eddie Johnson and all the other seniors contemplating retirement, enjoy the downtime and the rest of your lives. But for one final time I ask. what's next? Hmmmm....when you find out, please let me know.
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