My wife and I have been lucky to retire relatively early in life. Having saved and invested for decades, we were able to walk away from our careers in corporate America by the time we were 50.
The Demands Of Professional Careers
We each enjoyed the challenge of building our professional careers. The financial rewards, from earning and investing money for our future, were significant. And, we learned so much about the business world, our respective disciplines, and people.
But, there were many tough years. We endured long hours, travel, difficult bosses, challenging coworkers, and endless demands. Yet, our contributions never seemed to be good enough for our employers. Perhaps you can relate?
As time passed, we planned our exits. And when the time was right for each of us, we did just that.
Brainstorming Our Future
In the years leading up to our retirement, we both thought long and hard about what we would do with our time. Many ideas came into our minds. Some ideas were more realistic than others. But, most importantly, it was a brainstorming process that we nurtured for many years.
We were still young, healthy and energetic. Furthermore, neither my wife nor I could envision a life of travel and leisure. Finally, making an income would also help support our early retirement ambitions.
Remembering And Returning To Our Passions
My wife’s passion is reading. She always dreamed of being a librarian. So, she applied for part-time work at one of our local public libraries and worked in the circulation area for several years.
But to be a professional librarian, a master’s degree in library science is required. She decided to take the leap and get that degree. She finished it and eventually earned her way into a full-time position at a university library.
On the other hand, my lifelong passion was teaching at the college level. Even though I had many years of practical experience in my field, a master’s degree is required for most college teaching positions.
So, at the age of 48, I went back to school for my master’s degree. And, found my way into a graduate assistant teaching position at the school I attended. I learned so much about teaching from the professors I worked for as a teaching assistant. It was a wonderful learning experience.
With my new master’s degree in hand and plenty of experience in my chosen field, I landed a teaching position to my liking. I have now taught many graduate-level business classes over the past several years.
It doesn’t matter what age you retire. Those years are precious and should be fulfilling.
So, dream about the future while you are working. And, think hard about your passions. Our passions just happened to be second careers in more fulfilling fields. Yours will likely be much different.
Regardless, ask the question, what will bring me purpose. Then, make a plan and go for it. Whatever, “it” is.