Taking Control of Your Retirement
By Karen and Erica
Today, just like yesterday, we are smart, energetic, interested, engaged, stylish, collegial, problem-solving women. The only difference is that today, after almost four decades of working full time, we retired. We now have the freedom to spend our days as we wish. So what’s the problem? Why doesn’t that feel like enough?
For starters, we liked having an office, business cards, scheduled calls and meetings and even leftover to do’s from the days or weeks before. We liked having colleagues and a support staff and having a reason to get dressed up. We liked saying things like “I am a partner”—emphasis on “am.” Overnight, all that vanished. Just like that. We shouldn’t have been surprised, but we were.
Our colleagues and friends congratulated us, and many expressed envy at our good fortune. But we were uneasy. One day, we were highly sought after, even powerful, lawyers. The next, we were—what? Did we no longer have value? Not knowing exactly what was next, we were both anxious and scared.
We realized we were both feeling the same thing and decided to face it together. We recalled that when we started our careers, we were part of a new cohort of professional women that were making their way in a man’s world, largely without role models. We looked around and were surprised to find that, once again, we couldn’t find role models.
We talked to everyone we could talk to, we asked a lot of questions and we listened hard. We read what we could find, but nothing struck a chord. We met a retirement expert. We interviewed for new jobs. And then, it came to us as a new thought. The reason lots of what we were hearing didn’t sit well is because there seemed to be an underlying premise that we were shedding our old selves and transforming into something new.
That’s not what we are about. Our circumstances have changed, but we have not. The challenge is how to identify what we want to keep, toss what we don’t and have a really good and rewarding time for the next 15 or 20 years. In other words, we want to style our retirement!