Wednesday, October 5, 2016

                                                 LOWERING THE BAR

      One would think that by the time one is retired, one would just sit back, take a deep breath, and say, “Ok. Now it’s time to chill.” For some, this may be easy; for others, like yours truly, it’s simply a time to raise the bar on other activities, as the career, child-rearing and elderly parents are no longer on the “must address” list. A newly-retired friend said to me yesterday, “I found myself rushing around like crazy trying to get everything done.” I laughed, and replied, “Like we don’t have the rest of our lives to get it all done.” No, neither of us will ever lower the bar, unless it’s the one full of vodka, and then that’s just to put it where we can reach it more easily. 

      Some people are just “hard-wired” to achieve, produce, excel. They continue to raise the bar, no matter how old, tired or drained they may be. Their energy comes from performing and achieving. Most will never be recognized to any great extent for whatever they accomplish, but that isn’t the driving force. They perform, achieve for the adrenaline it produces, for the sense of accomplishment it gives them. Others look at people like this and say, “Why don’t they just relax?” They can’t, and most don’t want to. They feed off of the sense of pride and the thrill of the research, the practice, the sweat it takes to get to the finished product. The lucky ones are those who enjoy the process, and the result is a bonus. Some compete with others; others, compete with their own definition of success.

       If you are looking at retirement as “Someday, when I don’t have to work, I will . . . ,” think about what you will do to replace the identity, the success, the sense of purpose you have in your present, perhaps, hectic life. If you are already retired, how high have you raised the bar? Are you happy with where you’ve set it? 

      Let us not forget that we are the ones raising the bar. It’s our bar, and we are the ones to stock it, drink from it, or ignore it. 

Friends, over 60 and some over 70, who continue to raise the bar:

Louise keeps learning new techniques to make her fabulous fiber creations more unique and appealing. Her self-made business is thriving.

Pattie has started a new business as a small business consultant for women, and she’s now getting paid to speak publicly.

Carol, a former Internist, will be teaching an online course to Physician’s Assistants.

Judy is head of the Democratic Party delegation for her county.

Wendy has created an opera company which fills the house every performance. It is a showcase for young opera talent.

Geneva has her finger in every pie, chairing political and educational committees and fund-raising for numerous community organizations.

Frank has written three books, and he is presently touring the northeast speaking and signing his books.

Karen and Suzanne both work and travel promoting their company’s products which improve peoples’ health.

Beth and Jennifer are top real estate producers in their state. Jennifer is now a regional director for her company.

All of these people enjoyed successful careers in other fields before retiring.

And there are many more.