What I realized as I closed my office door for the last time was that I, too, was graduating this year. My march down the ceremonial aisle, however, is often seen as a withdrawal from the 'Real World' to an insulated, cocoon-like world called 'Retirement'.
In Retirement World the bluebirds of happiness chirp all day in a safe haven of comfort and relaxation. The rocking chairs are all lined with tweed wood blankets and slipper-shod members trundle from serenity to tranquility and back again. The best days on this planet can only be described as uneventful. This is a place of ending.
That's not what I pictured.
Retirement to me is like a commencement ceremony is to graduates. Certainly, it is the end of one thing, but, just as certainly, not the end of everything. In fact, it is more about beginning than about ending. It is more about the future than about the past. It is celebrating what you have accomplished, but only in the sense that now you do something else because of what you have learned or want to know.
For me it is not the epilogue of the story or even the last chapter, but rather the beginning of a new story; a new phase of life where every day begins with the question, "Whatta ya wanna do today?"
My first answer to that question is, "I want it all!"
"I want to live the rest of my life deliberately. I want to do the important things, to make valuable contributions that will make a difference in the world and leave a lasting legacy for generations to come. I want adventure and excitement, enthusiasm and passion. I want to pursue that bucket list like a man with his hair on fire and wring the neck of each item on it like it was a Sunday dinner chicken. Ride the bull, or at least run with them. Grab for all the gusto I can get and then some."
Calvin always captures it best for me: