This post is dedicated to all those who are approaching their retirement and have a dream that they want to realize. The idea for this post comes from 2 women whom I know – both in their 60s – who worked for decades in their respective professions, one as a registered nurse, the other as a high school (math) teacher. Their stories and dreams touched me with their sense of passion and yearning so I’d like to share them with you. The Teacher completed her 40-plus years teaching career at the age of 65. One of the first things she did was register for tennis lessons at her local community program. When she was a schoolgirl, her father had disallowed her from participating in any athletics or sports saying that it was for boys only. Honouring her father, she refrained from sports until the day she retired. She described retirement as a whole new world and life opening up for her.
So The Teacher started taking tennis classes and loved them. She purchased tennis whites (skirts, dresses, everything) and took 2 classes per week religiously. More than 7 years later and The Teacher now belongs to a house league and plays competitively. She still takes lessons at her local community program with the same tennis instructor who taught her to play, appreciating his sense of humour and patience.
She also learned how to play golf and ice skate too – all after retirement – but tennis is her passion and joy. It has given her a sense of confidence and accomplishment as she masters new skills, challenges herself to take new risks and has lots of fun. She recently played an incredible 7-hour round robin tournament! The Teacher has become The Tennis Player!
The second story is that of The Nurse. She said that her nursing career was a rewarding and honourable profession “from virgin to grandmother” – quite literally. When she was celebrating her 60th birthday, I asked The Nurse what her plans were for retirement.
She came up close to me and asked in a hush tone, “Do you really want to know?”
“Of course I do now!”
And she whispered, “I want to be a hair stylist. I want to make people look and feel beautiful.”
She still has a few years to go before she officially retires and is in her dreaming stage for what’s next. My wish for her is that she continues to dream, be curious and take steps towards her next career.
Here are 2 examples about moving from what is expected of us to what resonates for us – in this case, in the sixth decade of life and in retirement. Anecdotal evidence that it’s never too late to make your dreams come true or as C.S. Lewis said, “You are never too old to set a new goal or to dream a new dream.”