Our own experiences are the primary inspiration for this book.Each chapter contains our personal reflections about how the findings and suggestions have played out in our own lives.

The Eager Retiree: Julie’s Story

Julie Chahal

I had a successful career by most standards, but became dissatisfied despite my title, salary, staff and corner office.Too often I would be proud of an accomplishment only to see it evaporate in the next round of reorganizations or legislative changes.The other aspects of my life (teenaged children, self-professed neglected husband, aging parents, community involvement) needed a lot more of my attention.I wanted more control over my time, my process and my products.I caught myself calculating how many years until I would qualify for a full pension.Wishing my life away did not seem healthy.

I chose to leave my government career while still in my forties, intending a kind of hiatus from regimented work, a chance to revitalize. I wanted to try something new before it was too late.I planned to give myself a year to get on top of my non-career responsibilities and another year to “play”, trying new things and exploring my options.This stage actually took quite a bit longer than planned.

I hesitated to take on this project since most books about retirement seem to have been written by financial planners or psychologists.I am no expert in either of those areas.I do however have some experience as a change agent in large and small organizations and a lifetime of observing others’ and my own inner workings.

Some of Julie’s other activities:

Business consulting and coaching

West End Learning Unlimited

The Reluctant Retiree:Linda’s Story

Linda Lucas

I confess that I am someone who has not taken well to the idea of being “retired”.I did not retire in the usual way – working somewhere for 40 years and then getting a gold watch. Instead, at age 49, I took a “buy-out” from the community college where I had worked for fifteen years – enough years to acquire a small pension, but nowhere near a point where I was ready to stop working.

While many people experience reaching a pinnacle in their career at this age, I did not.I was not happy in my work and really wanted a change.Because my job involved working with technology, and I had some background in training – I felt I had good skills to take to the marketplace at that time. The “buy out” allowed me to collect a year’s salary as I explored new territory.It was time to try something new.

Once I made this decision, the reality of not having a regular pay check hit home.In the first weeks after “retiring”, I went into a mild depression.One of the biggest challenges was finding a new identity.How did that work?So much of our lives are taken up with our work situation and pursuing a career.It struck me that fifty is not an ideal time to begin reinventing yourself.I felt like I was in free-fall – I had nothing to hang on to.Eventually I found a satisfying second career as a consultant.

Now – at age 60 – I am retiring again.This time I am happy to move on – but just like the first time, I am struggling with the identity question and with needing to figure out what to do with the rest of my life. My earlier experience gave me a good understanding of some of the issues that people face in retirement.My research, sharing with friends, and a certain amount of personal exploration have provided additional answers.

The Artist

The original line drawings contributed by British Columbia artist, Patricia Collier, made a wonderful addition to our text.  She magically captured the mood we wanted to convey.

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