Skip to main content

I was speaking with a close friend tonight who is retired. He was saying how his initial intent in retiring was to take it easy, read great novels, have coffee, watch the waves while doing puzzles and just enjoying the next stage of life.

His reality however became something very unexpected. He volunteers in one group where he represents his branch of service at military funerals honoring our service men and women. He is an active member and past president (thankfully past) of a social service organization raising funds to assist children in need, and then, when he can, he reads, has coffee, and does puzzles while watching the waves. He is truly living who he is, compassionate, caring, and of service.

On the other hand, most of my clients see retirement as the beginning of the next adventure; one in which they get to choose what new business they will be opening and one in which new adventures will take place.

“Retirement” for many has become a word that simply means “a change.”

Doing something that they really enjoy if not love. What I have seen, as with my friend, is that what retirement demonstrates is who you really are at your core. You get to live your truth with chosen and different levels of responsibility, clarity, and expectation.

My son retired when he reached a certain age (extraordinarily young) with a defined amount of money from a very successful career he had dedicated himself to. Since then, he has helped build water systems for indigenous peoples in the mountains of Peru, helped build hospitals and homes for people recovering from a hurricane in the Bahamas, and so on. He is now looking at helping to serve in Cambodia, Viet Nam, Laos, and who knows where else.

The question becomes, who will you become when you are free to define your time, your purpose, and your next adventure?

One client in my 10-month program is selling a family business that has been in existence for 75 years. After years of devoting herself to continuing the family business, it is now her turn to define who she wants to become and what she wants her next stage to look like. Like so many I am blessed to work with, she is far below what we think of as “retirement age” yet she is so ready to move into that stage where her dreams to speak, to teach, and to support others in the outdoors are now ready to come alive. She will fly to levels she could only dream of earlier. Horses, dogs, the outdoors, confidently coming alive and making a difference in the lives of so many will be natural for her.

What is it that calls you to the next stage?

Mine will always include working. When you love what you do, why retire? How I am working, what projects I am working on etc. will naturally continue to evolve but always in the same playing field – although who knows?

Give yourself permission to look at what your next dream will be. No rush to achieve it, but that smooth transition to the next stage may come when you least expect it yet when you know it is time. Loving where you are now, having permission to enjoy every stage of this blessed life, is the gift you give yourself. Knowing what is calling you next, gives you permission to take the time, and consciously prepare before starting the journey.

What a gift life is and what a blessing you become to the world as you live each stage to the fullest. You will discover, as my friend and my clients have in moving forward and opening up to whatever your next stage entails, whether expanding or changing your businesses or “retiring,” that the more conscious changes you make in life, somehow the more you are called back into the fullness of who you truly are.


Dr. Dorothy’s life story of coming from an orphanage, being raised in the housing projects of South Boston, becoming a Catholic nun, an international airline stewardess, a wife, mother, graduate faculty member, Clinical Instructor at a Medical School, and so much more provides the perfect backdrop for her message of joy, humor, passion and faith as the necessary tools for life.