Since thinking about blogging and post topics is an ongoing process, I welcomed this burst of connectedness. There are certainly three words that can accurately describe my life before retirement and my existence since.
* Angry - I worked with men just before and after their release from prison. Usually, those guys had 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. I have a gold record on the wall of my home office given to me as a thank you for a young artist's rise to fame. 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 the 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 career 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 this blog for a while, you'd probably conclude I am rather happy with my lifestyle. I don't think my writing expresses much anger regularly because I don't really feel any (except when politics gets too stupid to ignore). My life has achieved some sense of balance. I have learned to keep my various activities, interests, and responsibilities in their proper place. It took me many 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 health. The pandemic is not magically going away, it is getting worse...again. My daughters and grandkids 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.
* Fulfilled - I am fulfilled by the way my life has unfolded. I have a woman by my side who has given me over 44 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 a Supreme Being. I have a few friends who I would walk over hot coals for. 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 good to me. I wish for you the same.