The other day I ran into a friend who mentioned of how someone recently asked him about the subject of retirement.
“When are you every going to retire?” they asked my friend.
My friend is an energetic, positive individual. You might even imagine his as the type of individual who gets up in the morning, strides over to the window, pulls the curtains aside — and when the sunlight washes over him — pumps his fist and says “yes, another day!”
“Why would I ever retire?” my friend replied.
“So you can do what you want to do,” came the reply.
“But I’m already doing everything I ever wanted to do,” my friend answered.
That, I believe, is a significant key to happiness in life.
If you know my friend, you know he is telling the truth. He is not so young as to be naive of what challenges life or the world can present, but he’s old enough to be wise beyond his years. For him, he is in control of his life, his surroundings, and his happiness.
The two of us spoke a bit longer before the world called us away in different directions. But as I walked across the parking lot to my car I found myself thinking about his remark about retirement. Sure, my friend could one day retire, but he truly loves what he does each day. You can see the energy in his eyes, the excitement in his voice when he gets an idea he’d like to take to market. To him, the idea of being relegated to hitting a white golf ball up and down a fairway each day would be akin to putting a horse out to pasture. And for my friend, there isn’t a pasture big enough to contain his dreams.
I realize it is somewhat common for people to be planning for that ‘one day’ – they day they stop doing for others and do what they want to do each day. And the right answers are as varied as there are people in the world. Each of us harbors our own secret dream, an idea of what would make us happy each and every day if the choice were ours. And for many, that dream is wrapped up in with a ribbon and the word “retirement” written across the label.
But for my friend, the happiness many delay for the future is something he works hard to make sure is a part of his daily life. We are not talking about material objects here; now we are talking about making sure the things he does or decisions he makes help him lead a life where balance, creativity, and satisfaction earned by hard work are part of his daily mantra.
God blesses each of us with certain talents and opportunities. Sometimes we see them easily, other times not so much. But the opportunities do exist – as my friend will testify.
As the world around us continues to change, we need to always keep in mind we are in charge of our life, our happiness, and our future. And it all starts and ends inside of each of us.
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