Personal Development


CHAPTER XXVII – Redefining Retirement

I am Jude. Retirement is on my horizon.

It’s hard for me to believe that I have now been employed with the Federal government for twenty-two(22) years. The combined total of my advancing age and cumulative years of service are ushering me closer to the end of my career in Corrections. 

That said, I am anticipating the next best phase of my life and I am utilizing the next couple of years to network, plan and acquire new skills. 

In doing so, I am sowing the seeds for my future. My consistent efforts today are creating new, yet to be determined opportunities and preparing me for something more.

As Jim Rohn suggests, if you want more, you have to be more. And I want more. 

I may be retiring from the Federal government but I have no intentions of slowing down. In fact, I am only getting started. 

I have come to believe that part of our inherent purpose as human beings is to grow and evolve into the best version of ourselves, regardless of our age or circumstances. 

I have been seeking out people who are embodying elements of retirement that I admire. Individuals whose inner compass is directing them to courageously pursue their passions and who, from my perspective, are committed to living well.

And for me that includes, volunteerism and serving others.  

These torchbearers are creating exciting new realities for themselves while actively attempting to improve the lives of others. They are displacing stress, angst and conflict with meaningful activities that promote joy, peace and fulfillment – and that sounds appealing to me.

I have discovered one of these difference makers in Rob Landry, a friend and newly retired colleague from the Correctional Service of Canada. 

Rob is an avid cyclist and community volunteer who is using his passion for biking to help others. Over the past year he has begun refurbishing donated or cheaply purchased bicycles in his Elmsdale garage, making them road-worthy and giving them away to children and adults in need.

His program is called Cycling Forward – Experienced Bikes New Purpose. To support his efforts and limit out of pocket costs, he has created a Go Fund Me page to buy more used bicycles, parts and helmets. Hint hint! 

This is the type of retirement activity that inspires me. One that allows you to utilize your skills, abilities and interests to positively impact others. 

Rob described his efforts and intentions during a recent conversation over coffee and ultimately asked if anyone living in my community could use a new bicycle. At the time, he indicated that he had twenty-six(26) bikes in various stages of repair.

A couple of days later, he and his wife delivered eight refurbished (8) bikes and helmets to give away to members of the local African Nova Scotian community.

Salute Rob Landry! Well done. All of the bikes quickly found grateful new owners. 

Thanks for continuing to provide heartening examples of selflessness and community service and for creating a valuable blueprint for finding purpose and fulfillment in retirement. 

So reader, as you envision retirement, I encourage you to consider your purpose. How can you align your interests with your values and best serve others? Explore the possibilities, the potential rewards are immeasurable! Just ask Rob. 

Your Next Best Read – The Almanack of Naval Ravikant: A Guide to Health and Wellness

I’m not exactly sure how to describe this book except that it encourages the reader to Be Better. It is a collection of tweets, interviews, personal reflections that touch on spirituality, business, mindfulness and happiness.

Naval Ravikant is a successful entrepreneur, investor, and venture capitalist. He is the CEO and co-founder of AngelList, which is a U.S. website for startups, angel investors, and job-seekers looking to work at startups. 

Basically, the site allows creators and new companies to raise money from angel investors free of charge. 

He’s invested in more than 100 companies, including Uber, Twitter, Yammer, and many others.

The book is an eclectic work comprised of quotes, insights and observations for success in life and in business. 

For instance, he defines ‘happiness’ as the state when nothing is missing. When nothing is missing, you’re not preoccupied with anything from the past or planning something for the future. In that absence of thinking, there is an opportunity to find moments of internal silence. And when you possess this inner silence, you obtain happiness.

He provides advice about increasing your wealth:

Making money is not a thing you do — it’s a skill you learn.

Getting rich is about knowing what to do, who to do it with, and when to do it. It is much more about understanding than purely hard work.

You’re not going to get rich renting out your time. You must own equity — a piece of a business — to gain your financial freedom.

Naval Ravikant

An additional benefit of the book, for me, has been his recommended reading list. I reviewed his recommendations and have already begun listening to Homo Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind by Yuval Noah Harari

Mr Ravikant describes it as one of the best books he has read in the last decade. I am only halfway through but I think I may be inclined to agree. It’s dope. 

Here is a link to the author’s website where you can find out more information about his unique origin story, his successful business ventures and his recommended reading list.

Side Hustle – Unshackled Solutions Life Coaching and Consulting

The Benefits of Life Coaching

I continue to seek out and receive regular life coaching. 

I do not believe I can ask others to invest in life coaching if I haven’t personally experienced it myself. And so far it has been serving me well.

Everytime I connect with a new life coach I attempt to learn something about their respective coaching modality, their individual approach and their process. 

Professionally, I get a better understanding of what I want my practice to look like. I emulate the aspects of coaching I value and apply a critical eye to whatever falls short. 

Personally, I obtain a myriad of benefits associated with clarity, reflection and insight. There is also an increased level of action and accountability in attempting to honour someone else’s time and investment in you. It encourages you to act. 

Everytime I complete a coaching session I become a little more comfortable with the theory and architecture. I am slowly gaining increased perspective and confidence with the process. 

I am also trying to practice patience and self-compassion when I struggle. I am reminding myself that I have only been considering professional life coaching for the past six months. 

I am improving with every new experience and I am confident that I possess everything I need to be successful. Now it’s just a matter of trusting the process and continuing to Be Better. The results will take care of themselves. 

What’s Good – Positive Reflections

Provincial Champions

I have been coaching basketball for approximately twenty years. It has truly been a blessing to help shape and inspire players to Be Better and it ranks among my greatest and most rewarding accomplishments.

I have acquired a wealth of memories and have developed lifelong relationships with some very special people. In this regard, I know that I have received more than I have given. 

Seven years ago I began coaching a young group of girls in mini basketball. They were only ten and eleven at the time, but I was immediately impressed with their advanced skills, willingness to follow direction and work ethic.

In the subsequent years of minor basketball, we were competitive with the best teams in the province, winning the Halifax Metro League and Basketball Nova Scotia provincial titles. 

When they went on to high school I truly believed that they were capable of ultimately ‘winning it all’.

Well, it all culminated this weekend when I had the honour and privilege of helping coach those very same girls to the 2022 AAA Provincial High School Girls Basketball Championship. The first provincial title for the CEC girls team in twenty-five(25) years.

This momentous win was the result of hard work, perseverance and sacrifice and has been years of making. I have watched these young ladies mature and develop, fail and succeed and overcome adversity. 

I couldn’t be more proud of them or our collective accomplishments together. 

However, it’s also bittersweet because it spells the end of our basketball journey together. I will treasure the memories with this unique group of girls. They are special. Not just because of the title but because of our shared experiences and so much more.

Provincial Champions, I like the sound of that. Congratulations girls. I couldn’t be more proud of you. Continue to strive for greatness. Go Cougars!

Public Announcement

Kathleen ‘Tootie’ Paris

Last week we lost the oldest living member of my local African Nova Scotian community. Ms. Kathleen ‘Tootie’ Paris was ninety-five(95) years old when she passed away.

She was a giving person and was good to people. She loved to entertain and her home was always a hub of activity where everyone was welcome.

This remarkable woman was still living independently, providing for most of her needs and maintaining her meticulous home right up until the time of her death. 

Unbelievably, she had no major health issues, possessed all of her mental faculties and was still active.

Imagine being born almost 100 years ago and the fundamental changes in the world that she witnessed.

It would have meant growing up in a world where there were more horses on the roads than automobiles, experiencing the Great Depression and living through World War II. 

It would have meant living when there was legally sanctioned segregation and when women’s rights were practically non-existent. 

Consider how you would adjust to the mind bending technological advances over the last century and unimaginable changes to the way we communicate, function and live. Tootie took it all in stride. 

Ninety-five(95) years young. Almost a centenarian. What an amazing accomplishment and life journey! We can only dream of living that long or that well at the end of our lives.

Thanks for your shining example Tootie. Rest in Power. I am Jude. 

Photo by Zac Durant on Unsplash

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