I have spent almost 30 years in corporate life, with the first ten in the relative security of a large private insurer, and the last 19 and a half in the much more volatile telecommunications industry. Those of you who are familiar will understand living with the quarterly, if not monthly, fear of being impacted by a reduction in force (RIF), lay off, redundancy, or any other fun term you may have heard for losing your job. I was truly fortunate to have survived dozens of these events, plus mergers, bankruptcy, flaming implosion, CEO going to jail, more mergers and acquisitions over almost 20 years. My husband had lived through years of the same in similar hi-tech industries, although in smaller, start-up companies, before finding his calling in the motorcycle business.
In the last few years, we have both been deeply impacted by the experience of losing friends and family much too soon, and it got us thinking about how badly we wanted to start really living our dreams, tempered with the concern that retirement might not yet be in the cards for us. Despite the desire to know if we could, we had delayed engaging a new Financial Adviser after a bad experience 10 years ago. We knew we had no debt other than our mortgage, had been saving like crazy, and had solid investments from early in our relationship, but we hadn’t done a reality check until late last year. We were so pleased to find an adviser who “got” us, and who worked hard to set us up for success. From her, we learned to question basic assumptions and to reallocate funds to make our dream of traveling while we are still young and healthy a reality.
All this set up to say that in the most excellent example of the stars aligning I have ever witnessed, I was recently RIF’d, and couldn’t be happier!
We are retiring and truly thrilled!
What’s next, you ask? Well, I am in the process of finding a part time caregiver that can visit and watch over my mother when we travel. Despite her being in a full-time care facility, she is one of many, and I want someone to look out for her as I would do when I am here.
Then, in early April, we will ride off into the sunset on a motorcycle trip to Texas, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of our partnership. We met in San Antonio, and became a love story in April of 1995, during the most festive time in the city, the week-long celebration they call Fiesta San Antonio. We will take our time getting there, stopping at the Barber Motorcycle Museum , riding the coast roads along the Gulf, venture to our first MotoGP race at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, TX, ride the beautiful Texas Hill Country, and then head to San Antonio to celebrate fiesta and visit dear friends that have stayed close over the many years since we left. Following the trip back in time, we are already planning additional trips for 2015, including the long-anticipated retirement test ride (RTR) that I have been writing about since spring of last year, which will involve renting an RV, towing the bikes to somewhere fun and exploring whether the RV life is for us. More to come on that soon!
And if that isn’t enough news (I HAVE been silent for a long time), I got a new tattoo; one that embodies the significant changes and growth in my life over the last couple of years, and celebrates reaching a better understanding, as well as, acceptance, of myself.
The ‘Unalome’ is a representation of the path to enlightenment. The path starts in the center of the spiral, and as you continue down this path you are wandering, becoming more conscious of your surroundings. When you reach the top of the symbol, you have reached enlightenment. I will make it my life’s goal to get as close as possible.
I am by no means claiming that I have reached this heightened state of awareness, but I do know now that I am on the right path. Many elements came into play in this evolution. I have felt pain, watching my mother decline before my eyes with the cruel disease known as dementia. I have experienced a new sense of peace, as I rediscovered the benefits of yoga and adopted the calming practice of meditation. With age, I have found a new comfort in my own skin, something I never thought possible. I can now allow myself to be me; the authentic me, free of the fear of what others think of me, free of expectations, comparisons, and envy. I have been so incredibly fortunate to experience true love, with my soul mate and husband. I know in my heart that I am on the correct path in my life. Thanks to Rob at Gold City Ink for combining the two designs I found into the perfect one for me, and the beautiful execution.
I hope to spend a lot more time writing in the weeks and months to come, and really look forward to sharing our adventures in this new phase of our lives!