Post-Retirement? Ennui or Joie de Vive ?

A turning point in my life came three years ago when I just faced up to the fact I was not using my skills, doing what I loved, prospering and earning for what comes naturally to me, or helping other people in the way in which I am wired.  My personal life reflected this form of ennui.   I was circling inward; I was not being “proactive,” as they say.  I was looking for the “something” that I’d recognise when I found it.   I knew better what I didn’t want than what I did.

This is rather ironic for a former clergyman, a profession that is all about vocation, seeking one’s gifts and life purpose, or as one Bishop put it to me, “following your bliss.”  And doubly ironic because I have professional experience and training in career guidance, and organizational development as well.  I’ve helped many others but wasn’t helping myself. Arrggh.

I’d given myself a sabbattical some time ago with the clear intention to search for a new work that would put to use my top motivated skills.

I did research.  I lazed about. I saw my two grandkids come into the world.  I prayed.  I started my yoga practice. (BTW, it is the best preventative healthcare possible for BabyBoomers imo, about $39/month at my local YMCA.  Hah).  I meditated and studied. I considered a formal renunciation of my ordination and decided against it.   I grew, sought counsel and advice from other clergypeople (even while my denomination, Episcopalian, was going through some serious internal national furor on matters of Faith.) I shifted to the Eastto absorb Buddhism.  I even consulted the oracle/had a serious astrological reading.  And finally I paid for and immersed myself in an 8-month “Men’s Integral Evolution Initiation Process” with a small circle of fellow male “journeyers,” a hefty but rewarding commitment.  I even read 2,000 pages into and adopted the late holistic meta-physic and philosophy called “INTEGRAL” by Ken Wilber, with some profound belief implications for myself.

In other words, I DID MY HOMEWORK!

That was my journey. When I discovered ‘pure’ coaching in the methodology that the International Coach Academy offered for its professional certification I was hooked.  I’d found my pot of gold, so to speak.   It was a significant investment of my time and money but I knew it was the path I’d been seeking.  It took my chief skill set of ‘persuade, promote, counsel’ and put them to work with a new set of tools on top of my lifelong willingness to empower people spiritually and practically.  It was a great fit and very suited to my semi-retired lifestyle – no commuting, work at home, coaching is all by phone, earn and learn, stay engaged, and be plugged into my Higher Purpose, Spirit in my own personal spirituality.  It was all the above in a renewing way.  Yes!  Gracias, Dios mio’.

So this is what my transformation looks like. I figure I am more than able to help others with theirs, whether in post-retirement, or in the working years that lead up to it. God knows our economic global “rumblings” and their effects on our outlook from home for the future and retirement are real enough.

The point is – it can be done, even if where you sit now seems a bit like a cave with little light. And like anything important worth doing, it is worth doing well. This was my future! It was not easy or always clearly envisioned. But my lease on life now is new. I have a new story to tell and a new motivation to contribute to my story every day. “Retirement” has new meaning and way less fear to the idea than it did before. Uncertainty is gone. Purposefulness is here and now.

My professional and personal invitation to others is to do the same. It is to those who are willing to do the reflection, the soul-searching, the questioning, the reframing of perspective, and the seeking of advice with an openness for support. That’s how anyone with self-commitment too can fill in the meaning of what “Transformation” means to them.

Ennui to Joie de Vive anyone? Oui!  Si vous pleas! {that’s about the extent of my French but it suffices!}



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