How many times have you awakened in the morning and wondered what happened with the past six or seven decades? Or have you looked into the mirror and felt it was unfair that life passed you by without giving you a chance to pursue the career you always wanted? As much as some people look forward to retirement, what if you don’t have the income to maintain the lifestyle you have grown accustomed to? Then there is the backdoor threat of Alzheimer’s. You may wonder how you are going to stay alert and focused when your days may only be filled with volunteer community work or gardening.
I am one of those weird people who would rather work than play. If I don’t have any pressing jobs to accomplish, I create one. The few times I have focused on leisure instead of work, I got bored quickly. As the years were fleeting by and I remained in great health, I could not imagine living without an on-going purpose or fulfilling a dream during my ‘golden’ years.
Choosing to be a victor instead of a victim
My life was not an easy one. In fact, I endured more problems than most people would be able to handle. The more negatives life threw at me, the stronger and hopefully, wiser, I became. But what good is that wisdom if I couldn’t put it to good use?
When my daughter was a teenager she started a crusade to encourage me to write my memoir. It started as a campaign and over the course of ten years, she made it a threat. She had heard all my excuses and was not going to tolerate them any longer. “Write your story or else!” I never asked her what the ‘or else’ was nor do I want to know. Finally, to make her be quiet I began the journey of writing my story.
I never would have believed it could be so difficult but it was also a driving force as the more I wrote the more I realized I had a message the world needed to hear. It was a message of never, ever giving up – no matter what happens.
Stepping WAY out of my comfort zone
My husband and I were in our sixties when we opened three high-end jewelry stores. Shortly thereafter, my husband was in a serious car accident which left him disabled. We found ourselves thrown into a situation that did not allow us to quit our jobs, or sell our businesses. We had to keep going. We weren’t given a choice.
When I was in my twenties, I became a certified health coach after I was told I only had two years to live due to cancer. I refused the normal invasive treatments and opted to cure myself with nutrition and food supplements. After complete restoration, I promised myself I would help people with their health issues until the day I die.
Where was I going to find the time to write a book and maintain my brick and mortar jobs? I wrote late in the evenings; and after ten years triggered by painful memories, I was ready to launch my book.
I was 65 years old and had no idea my life was about to start over with a new career. I hired a publisher to promote the new book which was a short-lived relationship. Fortunately, I discovered early on that they were keeping my royalties and firing them was the easy part. However, I was thrown into the world of social media which I knew next to nothing about.
I took every available course I could find on marketing and promoting a memoir and my book sales began to soar. Numerous opportunities to share my story as a keynote speaker meant I was on the road at least one week a month.
The new normal
Obviously, I wasn’t busy enough because I had a brainstorm for my next project. I decided to start a podcast where I would interview ordinary people who overcame extraordinary circumstances and became successful as a result. In the first hour after posting my idea on the internet, I had over 100 requests to be on my show. What show? I had to work swiftly to train myself how to podcast, how to edit and how to promote my show. That was two years ago and I am now heard in over 120 countries with unending daily requests to be part of the show.
When I look in the mirror I may see an old woman, but I also see one who can encourage anyone who wants more than what retirement may have to offer, when they come to a mature time of life.
I wanted to fulfil the dream of being an author, an international speaker and a talk show host. At 65 these seemed like pipe dreams but I am now living them and looking forward to the next challenge. As owner and operator of two jewelry stores, my health coaching business, traveling as a speaker, hosting and managing my talk show, writing for numerous magazines and anthologies, having my own monthly column in two magazines, being bookkeeper for all the businesses, taking care of a disabled husband and rescuing dogs (over 30 to date) where will I ever get the time to do more? Yet, I know I will find that time.
Nothing is stopping you
We all have the ability and the right to choose what we do with our retirement years. My choice was to start over – doing what I wanted to do and helping so many others be encouraged and challenged to never ever give up hope.
Never limit yourself by making excuses why you cannot do what you always wanted to do. Find a way. Set your goals. You will never regret it. It will sustain your youth. You have much to offer – start giving it away.