Do you regret your career? Perhaps you dreamed of being a writer, but chose a career in banking because it paid the bills. Or perhaps you envisioned having your own brewery, trying new recipes and creating a community of beer enthusiasts. However, his “real job” got in the way of realizing this dream.
When I reflect on my career, my only regret is that I did not accept an invitation to meet with Viking Sewing Machine Co. in Minneapolis. I always wanted to be a home economist in business. He was in love with the idea of living the “Mary Tyler Moore lifestyle.”
So when Viking Sewing Machine Company called, why didn’t I accept an invitation for an interview?
The position paid 2/3 of what it earned in an educational institution. I had trouble making a living on this salary while living in a rural New York City. How could I move to a big city and live on a third less income? To accept the position, I believed that I would have to borrow from my parents to cover monthly expenses. This could be the norm in 2014; it was not acceptable in 1984.
I suppose similar pressures affected his career decisions. The good news is that there is not ONE thing you should be. Retirement is the perfect time to discover regrets, unfinished business, or unfulfilled dreams. As George Eliot said, “It is never too late to be what you could have been.”
Although my career remained on an educational path, my dream of working at Corporate America remained alive. Dreams that are “meant to be” don’t die. They may be asleep for a while, 30 years in my case, but if they are real, their spirit remains strong.
This is where “retirement” comes in. My definition of retirement is “being available.” For some people, including myself, retirement is an opportunity to work at something different. Upon retirement, I can say yes to other opportunities, including work.
I am using my “retirement years” to bring this dream to life. I am acting brave. (It’s too late to play it safe.) And my efforts are paying off. In a few weeks, I may be living my dream of working in Corporate America. Retirement has given me a second chance.
And you? What do you want really? What dreams don’t fade How can you use your retirement to realize this dream?
Retirement gives us a second chance to live life without regrets, to become what we could have been.