February 12, 2023

Shine On

Shine On

A few months ago, I passed the five-year mark of my retirement. For me, someone almost addicted to self-improvement, anniversaries are typically a time to look back on how I’ve been doing, especially during a time full of discovering, unraveling, solving, and resolving; repeat. But this time around, I’ve been thinking about the next five years and how long it takes to develop a satisfying rhythm in retirement.

That raised some questions: Do I have the right formula? Is there a harmony between my effort and enjoyment? Am I enjoying the striving, or am I missing out on what’s right in front of me by aiming ahead? Am I asking for the moon???

As it happens, big questions sometimes have small answers.

I was reading a post from an author who believes in finding work you love in retirement, along with appreciating life’s other pleasures. He had been training for his first Ironman competition when a spill led to an injury and discouragement.

He questioned whether he could pull off recovering and enter the Ironman when he realized that wasn’t his true goal. Instead, he wanted to get fit, which he’d done. Good story, goal achieved, case closed.

However, he said something further that turned on the lights for me: he was continuing. In fact, he felt even more excited to get out there and do his best, testing the fitness he’d accumulated. But this time, participating would be the icing on the cake. He would enjoy simply being involved for the sake of it.

I realized I’m that type, too; I still need achievement, but now it’s for my own private pride and joy. And I don’t need to make my story too complicated, with a dogmatic formula to follow, a litmus test, or a big-deal dream or goal. I enjoy showing myself what I can do in what matters to me. I understand some don’t feel the way I do and wonder why I’m striving at this time in my life. But I’m happy keeping at it, enjoying small achievements that can grow and feel just right on the inside.

While I’m undoubtedly a late bloomer, that simple acceptance is launching me into my next five years with a new lightening and brightening.

Cheers to shooting for the moon, going the distance – or just staying in the game.