Hill: Retire with sanity and grace

Rosemarie Hill

You've been a successful businesswoman, whether you worked for yourself or someone else for many years, and now you want to retire. We can help with that.

This article won't tell you how to save more of your money, how much you should have, where to invest your hard-earned coins or how to spend wisely. Nor where to live, when to move in with the "active seniors," or which child or grandchild you will grace with your wisdom and presence.

Rather, consider first things first: Do you want to retire? If you don't, keep reading anyway. If you do, you've got thinking and scheming to do because you must have a plan for what to do after retirement.

Start thinking by trying very hard to sit quietly (no, we're not going to meditate, although many people say that's a helpful practice - to someone, somewhere, sometime) and envision your life after retirement.

What do you see yourself doing? What do you want to do? I bet you have friends telling you that you'll die of boredom if you retire. Don't buy that unless you are without imagination, energy or desire of any sort. Or if you have no life outside of work, in which case our work here is way harder than anyone thought. Seriously, imagine where you are after retirement and what you are doing. Then, well, just do it. Now you're thinking, well, duh? Just do it? Is it that simple? Perhaps.

Of course, you may have money woes or health problems and you'll need to be really creative to work with those challenges. But you can - plenty of people do. Do what you can when you can and with what you have. I know, another platitude. Think through the Hallmark words though - they make sense. Health and wealth issues aside, here some grand retirement options up for consideration:

Will my grandchildren, now more than ever, be my world?

Could I devote several hours a week to volunteer at a wonderful local hospital? I could make sick people's lives a little brighter each day, right?

Don't my other favorite nonprofits need some help? What expertise could I offer?

Perhaps it's time to open a little bookshop (with e-book options of course) in a cozy corner of the world with the smell of delectable sweets and coffee and a small fireplace. It doesn't have to be a bookstore, by the way. It can be one of those e-companies with initials for names that does things nobody understands but pays lots of money to use.

Or could I be a part-time consultant to my current company and dazzle them with my recently-renewed sense of purpose and success? And of course, the all-time favorite pursuit - why not sit down to write your grand novel? What about fostering pets waiting on a forever home? How about revisiting your high school athletic glory days and participate in Senior Olympics (which are a lot of fun by the way)? Turn a hobby, say restoring cars, into a part-time gig? Learn a new skill - pastry chef?

The possibilities really are limitless. We've left out the more clichéd ideas such as exercising more (yeah, right), traveling (always good), cooking (sometimes edible), and gardening or painting (perhaps not). One friend, who was asked to leave chorus in the fourth grade to take another library period because of her inability to carry a tune, is determined to get a voice teacher and learn to sing.

So, out of all of this, aren't there one or two ideas that you'd really like to get yourself wound up in? There's a saying going around that we are living longer so we are working longer. Really? Maybe some of us of are because we need to or because we truly enjoy what we are doing. But not everyone. If you really want to retire, you can do it with grace and with sanity.

Your possibilities really are infinite, bound somewhat by your resources but more importantly, by your imagination. Use it!

Contact Rosemarie Hill, the leader of the labor and employment section at Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel law firm, at rhill@chamlisslaw.com.