I had lunch today with a former co-worker that has effectively “retired” at 39 (Jealous, much?). She is very much a Top 1%’er and a rockstar teammate that I know is sorely missed at our past employer.
My central question to her was, “What are you doing with your time? Where have you turned your drive and ‘compulsion to innovate’ now that you are out of the workplace?”
“It’s been an easy transformation,” she said. “After I got over explaining to others why this was the right shift for me, I got really focused on doing things that I wanted to do. I’ve become a very focused student (studying Chinese), a very competent quilter, and someone that enjoys my time and being able to cook and sit down to a warm dinner at night with my husband. Oh, and I was down to the capital to comment on legislation that was going on a few weeks ago.”
“Wow,” I said to myself, and have mumbled a few times this afternoon.
What amazes me in reflection is that this person is bridging the gap that so many folks dream about at retirement – transforming their lives and focusing their energies toward activities they are emotionally invested in rather than throwing energies at the problem de jour at work.
Clearly, I’m not ready for retirement. I’m not applying my energies as effectively to my personal affairs (hobbies, projects, interests) as I do in my professional pursuits. This sure seems like a rapid change that could leave folks at loose ends for a while.
Would you be ready to retire tomorrow? How effectively are you prepared to “invest” your time in matters and pursuits that are important to you?