When the school district I worked for offered an early retirement incentive two years ago, I jumped at the idea. Moving from excitement over the possibilities to making it a reality took a lot more time and soul-searching, however. I was just over fifty and my daughter was about to start high school. College tuition, among other expenses, loomed and fear that the decision would backfire was overwhelming.
I was fortunate to be surrounded by supportive friends, and to get some pretty clear answers to the prayers I sent up at regular intervals throughout the day. I'd also had some pretty great role models -- women who'd followed their passions alongside their day jobs and family responsibilities -- who'd shown me what it looked like to lay a foundation for retirement.
One of the things I looked forward to was following my passion -- writing. (Little did I know that retiring wouldn't weaken my passion for teaching). And when I read Stacey Horowitz's 5 Steps for Making Passion Your Priority, I remembered all of those pre-retirement dreams all over again.
Now, two years have passed. Some days, I still struggle to find time to make my passion my priority, but I can say for sure that setting my sights on my passion was worth it. I was too young to retire by typical standards, but I was old enough to know that life is too short to put off the things that put the light in our eyes and the joy in our days.
Though I loved Horowitz's ideas for working in those things that matter most to us, what I most identified with in the article was her realism. The fact that sometimes we get our best ideas in the shower because it's the only time we have that's uninterrupted and allocated for just one thing -- one thing we can do on autopilot. The fact that many times, I go to bed tired and wake up still exhausted, but it's okay because I know what I'm doing matters.
What have you been longing to do? And how can you fit it into your life? Every baby step takes us closer to the dream.
There's no time like the present.