A sermon from my pastor two Sundays ago caused me to think, not only of his Biblical message, but also how his points relate to a satisfying retirement. His message was based on the life of Paul and his conversion from a hater of Christians to the author of almost one-half of the New Testament. The pastor used two sets of three words to describe Paul's journey.
Since thinking about blogging and post topics is an on-going process, I welcomed this burst of connectiveness. There are certainly three words that can be used to accurately describe my life before retirement, and my existence since.
* Angry - I work with men just before and after their release from prison. Usually, those guys have a lot of anger to deal with. Uncontrolled anger often was what landed them behind bars in the first place. I have seen, firsthand, what unresolved anger can do to someone's life.
In my case, I am not talking about that type of anger. During the last 15 years of my career I was angry at my feeling of being out of control. I was angry I was gone from home all the time. I was angry that clients wouldn't listen to my suggestions. I was angry that the house was never "perfect" when I returned home from a road trip.
* Ambitious - There came a point when I was rather well known in my profession. Within the narrow context of a certain type of music programming I was a national figure whose presence was sought as a speaker at conventions and group meetings. I helped write a study that changed the face of radio news. One of the major radio networks hired me to tell them how to improve. Radio stations would seek me out. I was receiving large sums of money to tell people what I thought.
With that type of adoration and financial support I was riding on a wave of hubris (a great word that doesn't get used enough!). I didn't take time to learn anything new about my industry. I was content to keep repeating the same message and following the same game plan year after year. Eventually, my ambition and pride would catch up with me in a big way and end my ride.
* Unfulfilled - Even with the travel, money, and fame I was not happy. I kept thinking that someone would discover I really had no idea what I was talking about. My life revolved around work...no, hold that, I had no life. I had a career and nothing else. There were no hobbies or interests that occupied my occasional off hours.
The family would take vacations in Hawaii or our condo in Florida, but I'd never relax because I was worried about everything under the sun. Through all this my incredible wife and two amazing daughters would stand with me and never tell me to my face I was out of control.
* Calm - If you have been reading Satisfying Retirement blog for awhile you'd probably conclude I am rather happy with my lifestyle. I don't think my writing expresses much anger because I don't really feel any. My life has finally achieved some sense of balance. I have learned to keep my various activities, interests, and responsibilities in their proper place. It took me 50-some years to figure out that anger is destructive to a person, a relationship, and a future. Anger is all consuming and counter-productive. This is a work in progress, but there is progress.
* Content - Sure, there are moments when I worry a bit about our finances or our health. My daughters and grand kids and their future are never far from my thoughts. I don't have the type of financial resources I expected to have at this stage of my life. My lifestyle is simpler and less cluttered than I would have ever pictured for myself. I am happy with much less than I once was.
In a word, I am content..content with my place in society, my family, and my life. You know me well enough to know that doesn't mean static. Contentment doesn't mean an end to growth and struggle. It means an end to striving for unrealistic and undesirable goals.
* Fulfilled - I am fulfilled by the way my life has unfolded. I have a woman by my side who has given me almost 37 years of her life and means more to me than life itself. I have a family one only dreams of. I am doing what I want, how I want, and when I want. I believe I am loved by God. I have friends who I would walk over hot coals for. I even have a dog that loves me with the type of devotion only a canine can provide. In short, no matter what the future holds for me, I have a peace and sense of fulfillment that can never be taken away.
Retirement has been very, very good to me. I wish for you the same.
Note: good blogging buddy and friend, Galen Pearl, found some inspiration from this post. She blogged about it here: Transformations , and has challanged me to dig a bit deeper into why these changes occured in me.
I will do so.