Most of you know that over the last 2 months, I have grappled with a big decision—early retirement—to go or not to go? Mary’s recent blog, http://www.4broadminds.blogspot.com/2012/07/dont-just-do-something-stand-there.html , reminded me: the answers to life’s tough decisions come from within, and sometimes you have to hit life’s pause button to listen to your soul.
If you are like me, you have envied friends who had the chance to early retire and have said things like, “I am so jealous. It’s a no-brainer. If they offer me early retirement, I am out of here.” So, it surprised me that my initial reaction to the offer was totally opposite: Forget it. I love my job. I am not ready to stop working. Absolutely no.
As an organizational development consultant and coach, my role is to ask others probing, powerful questions to help them find their way through change. Yet, faced with my own major life change, my first instinct was to ignore it. Could I summon the courage to hit that pause button and coach myself through those same difficult questions?
The offer would expire in less than 30 days. The clock was ticking, and hard questions began to emerge. At the top of the list—is it even financially feasible? Crunching the numbers seemed daunting at first, but ultimately it was the easier part. More demanding were soul searching questions like: What have I accomplished in my career and is it enough? Can I find other ways to contribute? What is my legacy? How much is my self-worth tied to my job? What will it take to accept the possibility that I may never work or earn a paycheck again?
After considerable reflection (and a few margaritas) my answers became clear.
This early retirement offer perched me on the edge of a pool of possibilities. I read somewhere recently that it is hard to know how deep the water is until you dive in. I cannot say I am totally ready, but arms flapping, legs pumping, eyes and heart wide open, I am going to take that leap.