When to Retire

I am getting to a point in my life where I am thinking a lot about what I am doing, why am I doing it, and how am I going about doing what I do. For example, if I look at my schedule for the next month, I am in France, Brazil, Mexico, Eastern and Western Canada, the United States and Argentina. I love the work I am doing, and this kind of travel regimen didn’t used to bother me too much. I have my travel routines down pretty well and rarely have problems—although it still takes about 3 extra hours at each end to deal with security and transportation to and from an airport. So what’s the problem?  

There isn’t actually a problem. There is a choice: do I want to spend a month out of each year of my life going to and from far-away places and spending 70% of my time in hotels (even if they are great hotels and I am well compensated) or not? I realize that I live the life of a troubadour, a traveling entertainer. My ‘gigs’ are corporate workshops and meetings and, I confess, the limelight gets in my blood. There is a rush that comes from sharing one’s experience with others and assisting them to accomplish more than they had previously thought possible.

What is missing in this kind of lifestyle is someone to share the experience with. I will be traveling more with my partner in coming months to see if it is companionship I am looking for or if I am approaching that ‘open space’ of retirement—in which case I can acknowledge that it is time to step back, change directions, and say “Goodnight” to the audience. I am torn between role models like Johnny Carson and Walter Cronkite who moved on to other things when they were at the top of their games and other entertainers like Tony Bennett and Lena Horne who will probably be singing for the people who love them until their last breath.

I produced a CD on retirement (“Retiring Right”) for Freeway Guides, a wonderful new company in Los Angeles that has a number of very well done learning titles by top speakers on various subjects from public speaking and financial management, to healthy eating and wine appreciation. In the CD, I make the point that I’ve retired several times and each time I get back on the horse (or more accurately, an airplane) and play some more. The fact is I am unlikely to ever retire. The question I am living with now is, “How am I going to express myself in coming years?”

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