It’s taken me a long time to get to this point in my life where all the pieces have finally come together. I’m blessed with a loving family and friends, a great wife (the Contessa) and a wonderful business partner in Gerry. Things finally feel right and the future looks pretty good right now from where I’m standing. But it wasn’t always that way and I’ve been dealt, rightly or wrongly, with my share of challenges over the years.
A nasty divorce, bad bosses, retirement shock, being pushed out by the only company I had ever worked for after 36 years, to name a few. I lived through it all and while it took a lot out of me I believe for some strange reason there was a purpose as it gave me first hand experience to learn from and share with others to help people transition into a wonderful Victory Lap.
For most of my life I’ve always struggled with this happiness thing. I always believed that happiness would appear around the next corner when, I received the big promotion, paid off the mortgage, the kids graduated, or I finally achieved financial independence and retired, but to my dismay it never arrived. Sure I enjoyed bursts of happiness during my life but it was always fleeting, never staying long.
One day soon after I retired, I attended a seminar where Seth Godin was the keynote speaker and each attendee was given a free book written by Seth entitled “What to do when it’s your turn?” That title really resonated with me because I was at a point in my life where I was finally free. It felt like Seth was personally challenging me to take action and do whatever I needed to do and by doing that I could finally stop searching and find lasting happiness.
I thought long and hard about that book title and realized that we have been conditioned by the advertisers to believe that retiring with a lot of money would automatically make us happy but the truth is it does not.
What I did know for sure was that living a boring life would not make me happy and that’s why I plan on never retiring. To retire to play golf, walk the malls and waste countless hours watching re-runs on television will not deliver the happiness most of us want or deserve after working so hard all those years. Retirement in my humble opinion is not a good thing but at some point it’s unavoidable.
The Truth About Retirement
Retiring by itself will not make you happy. When you retire you are still the same guy or gal or other, you were before you retired. You will still have the same hang-ups and personal issues that you had before. In retirement your past excuses don’t hold water anymore. You can’t blame a bad boss or a stressful, demanding, boring job for making you unhappy. The only difference is that you have more time to think and feel sorry for yourself. What are you going to do now with the rest of your life? When will you finally be happy like all the people in the retirement commercials?
Hope should not be not lost, you have the freedom to do whatever you want to make you happy. You just need to figure out what will make you happy. It may take you some time like it did for me but take your time it is not a sprint, life is a marathon. You have the time to figure out what it is that mkes you happy and that is exciting.
What Will Make You Happy?
We talked about this in VLR and we will go into greater detail in the transition guide we are currently working on.
Happiness is a choice and it’s something that you have to plan for and work at everyday. Happiness can be a challenge when you are struggling to survive, working just to pay the bills, but in VL, hopefully after all your hard work you are now financially free in VL. It’s your turn and there are no more excuses for you not to get happy and creating a wonderful fulfilling life. Don’t put it off start now, and don’t get discourage if the first thing you try doesn’t work. Another joy of VL it is your choice if the work or activity is not bringing you joy, move along. This is a new exciting adventure, at times it will be frightening, but most of the time it is great and you are responsible for your happiness.
You now have an extra 2,000 hours a year that you used to spend at work. Many of your day-to-day responsibilities are gone, and you must re-create yourself and your life. You can use that time to create the life you always dreamt about or you can squander it doing useless things. The decision is yours.
Re-discover who you are and what makes you happy. That is your quest, the daily pursuit of happiness!
101 Awesome Things To Experience During Victory Lap
The beauty of Victory Lap is that there are no rules. We have the power to choose how we want to live and what we want to experience. But it takes a little getting used to because we haven’t been able to live like this for a long, long time.
Now is the time to break out of our cocoons not go into one. Go on that trip you always dreamt about, sign up for an adventure race, learn a new language, try new food, find work that makes you feel fulfilling, at the end of the day you will be glad that you did.
To give you a nudge to get off the fence this week we started posting our regular series ‘101 Awesome Things To Experience During Victory Lap.”
For the record an awesome experience doesn’t need to be expensive just exciting and memorable, and one day you can look back on fondly and say to yourself “I am glad I decided to do that.”
Enjoy the series and if any of you have any awesome suggestions/ideas please send them in so we can share. After all we are all in this together.