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Soul Searching

“We don’t receive wisdom;

we must discover it for

ourselves after a journey

that no one can take for us

or spare us.”

Marcel Proust

I am on the cusp of retirement.

Sixty-eight days to go.


Counting the days, the weeks, the Monday’s, the weekly Tuesday 10:00 peer meetings.

I gave 6 months’ notice, which turned into 18 months’ notice when coerced to give them one more year, after I’d given them thirty years. Eighty-odd days counting turned into about four hundred forty. I started again. And each day, I continued to count.

My tenacity is one of my super powers (or my weakness, who knows).

A lot of good has come into my life from this ability to stay, hold on, put my head down and persevere, make the best of any situation. I am one who doesn’t see the grass as greener on the other side. I am the one who will roll up my sleeves and do what I can to make the grass green that is right beneath my own feet.

But have I sometimes stayed too long?

I’ve heard it said that what you love most in someone may be the thing that ultimately turns you away from that person. Gifts can become burdens. Strengths, weaknesses.

I hope the wisdom I’ve gained, in forty years of my career, has been worthy of my staying power.

I’m feeling that it has.

I’m feeling good.

If you’ve not yet retired, you’ll see when the time nears that so many thoughts, emotions, memories waft through your waking mind, and oftentimes, your sleeping mind. I am a slow burn. I ponder, plan, envision, strategize. I chew and chew to come to my truth and the plans of whatever it is I want to do, so that when I ultimately get there, I’ve gone through every possible scenario, and I am ready and comfortable with my decision. Almost never do I feel I’ve made the wrong decision, I think, due to my realistic nature and this deep thinking and planning. I get comfortable and then I step forward. With intention.

I am so grateful for the career I’ve had; it has so suited my skillset, what I enjoy doing, what I learn easily, what I gravitate toward. My colleagues and professional environments I’ve worked in have been a fit for me; I have thrived.

In pausing now at the summit, and turning to look backward, I see investments and client service was absolutely the right place for me, a place introduced to me by my father. He is, no doubt about it, smiling down on me, as I end the long career he would have wanted himself.

When something is right for you, that’s when that staying power is valuable.

“At the center of your being

you have the answer;

you know who you are and

you know what you want.”

Lao Tzu

I write to encourage every person to go after what feels right. Be brave enough to change the direction as you discover “wisdom on your journey,” if change feels needed. But for everything that feels right, hold on for dear life, and feel grateful to have experienced that right fit.

What I know for sure is that it was the friends I met (and held onto) and the thousands of books I’ve read that have given me the most wisdom and have led me to this life I have chosen and suits me.

I have lived an intentional life.

From when I was a girl. I can think of examples of it when I was in elementary school. I pondered, planned, envisioned and strategized and have, by doing so, created a life that is right for me.

At retirement, I can tell you for sure, that you want to say that – that you’ve created the life that is right for you. No regrets. If you’re not at retirement yet, you still have time. I’ll offer that wisdom for you to take on your remaining journey.

Because as joyful and scary as stopping your life’s work may be, if at least you can say steadfastly that your last forty years have been worthwhile and right for you – then big thumb’s up to you! That feels like a life well lived. And every one of us deserves that!

“Put your ear down close

to your soul and

listen hard.”

Anne Sexton


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