Transitions are tough

Sunrise. Sunset. Sunrise. Sunset.

I always loved the song from Fiddler on the Roof.

It highlights the transitions in life.

Well, the main ones at least.

I was talking to Peter Palanca the other day. He is the oldest cousin of this generation of Palanca cousins at 67 years old. We had been trying to connect for a few months and talk over some things with the company we share an interest in. He was a principle member of his business when he retired last year.

We were catching up when he said: “Lisa, I am busier than I have ever been. The difference is I am not getting paid for it.”

DING! DING! I hear that loud and clear.

We support kids that graduate preschool to 12th grade, college graduates are feted, marriage is often a super expensive and large transitional event, babies, new jobs, empty nests….

But let’s talk about the retirees. Their kids have been out of the house for a while. They are creating their own lives.

What happens when a person stops working the grind? Many will tell you it is wonderful. You can sleep in. You can travel. You can play and do lunch. Which is fun for the first few months.

After that?

Well, it is often difficult to find where to fit in. Some will become automatic babysitters. Others find volunteering fulfilling. But in cases like Peter’s, well, it is tough to say no to things that you are very good at and, quite frankly, know you are best for the job. And there is always that nagging feeling that you aren’t really finished.

Oh Peter will settle down. He will begin to derive pleasure from the fact that he really doesn’t have to drive through the streets of downtown Chicago. He is grandpa to 8-10 children (I have lost count). His wife, whom is has been married to for over 40 years, has always provided the steady hand.

The thing about Peter, and those like him, is they are wired from another time. They cannot turn off the need to serve other people. Because, in many ways, it is their reason for living. We all want to feel we contribute, right?

But is this the best way to live out the retirement phase?

I think it is a case by case, person by person basis.

I have friends that think I am crazy to still be busy in this transition.

Actually, I find it exciting to not work for another boss. I like the feeling of service and accomplishment it gives me.

The thing is, at whatever age, life is still day to day.

It is short.

Everyone is looking at tomorrow.

The past is still yesterday.

Accomplishments and transition will always be the “C” word which is CHANGE. Most people avoid it. It is uncomfortable. It makes us fearful.

As I listen to the peepers out by the marsh and take in the lushness of my favorite seasonal transition to summer, I remind myself that “to everything, there is a season. And a time for every purpose under heaven.”

Yesterday’s dead and tomorrow is blind and I live one day at a day.

Just for today, don’t fret about the next minute. Live your best life in the present minute.

Thanks for listening.

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