Ok, time to fess up. I am not really old enough to retire. There is no trust fund, no inheritance, no alimony, no lucrative work pension, no brilliantly planned retirement savings account. Really there is nothing, nada, zero, empty, kaput! It simply was time to live that life I have been talking about for years….working at what you love so that you never work another day in your life. How do I plan to do this.
I don’t want to go to an office every day. I don’t want a boss. I want to be able to travel. I want time to work at things that just simply bring me joy. I love writing and that is where this blog comes in. I get an idea (actually about a million of them swimming around in my head) and then I write and then I am almost euphoric. When my writing resonates with a reader I am totally euphoric, over the moon, filled with joy!!! I absolutely love creating ritual and officiating at ceremonies – Weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Baby Namings, even sad occasions like Funerals and UnbindingCeremonies. This is my happy place…true fulfillment.
About 20 years ago, I created a series of workshops to help women explore who they are and who they want to be. I absolutely loved this work and I dreamed of a time that these workshops and talks would be the centre of life. Time flies by and dreams sometimes get lost or put on hold. Now is the time and tomorrow is too late.
So here I am at 61 years old and starting a whole new life plan! How freaking amazing is that? I have a busy schedule set up for myself. Early in the morning I start by teaching English to children in China for a couple of hours. Then, breakfast and catching up on emails, social media and my website to see what needs to be done. I work until noon, then lunch and then a healthy activity. While I am house sitting near the ocean that means walking, swimming and biking everyday for at least an hour. When I am in Toronto, I am committing to the same schedule. We have wonderful community centres with swimming pools and gyms that cost very little and there are discounts for seniors, students, unwaged, low income and more.
Does this appeal to you? You must start with lists – lists of things you cannot live without. What is the absolute minimum that you could live with satisfactorily? What is a list with all your wishes and dreams? Take time to prepare these lists and edit and edit and edit until you know what you want and what you need. Next, a list of what type of work would make you feel fulfilled and contented. It might be what you are doing now or something so far away from that it might surprise even you. What do you know how to do? What are your skills? What do you do that fills you with joy? Meditate and dream on your lists.
The first step for me was starting the plan. I gave my notice to my employer last January (8 months). I started planning what the next steps would look like. I read that if you want to be in a new place next year, you must do 365 things toward that goal and so I started. Step by step, slowly, slowly and you can get there. The next big move was becoming a client of Women on the Move (WOM) and working closely with Heather Gamble to develop a plan for success. WOM incubates women entrepreneurs. It is a sisterhood of women who are motivated for change.
I invite everyone to evaluate your life – are you doing what makes you happy? Are you creating a lifestyle that suits you? Are chasing your dream or are you actually chasing someone else’s? Are you working to live or living to work? There are many seasons to our lives….in our 20’s, in our 30’s, 40’s, 50’s….different goals and different needs. What is it you want to change and what will you do every day to get there?