When The Full-Time Commute is Over—Now What? An Open Conversation with Myself—Part 3 — It Sure Can Be Quiet — by Steve Harding

happy-solitude

Nothing rings. Nothing buzzes, unless you count the guy that comes to the door selling solar panels. No business calls. No business related e-mails. No invitations to speak. There are no texts, no tweets, no nothing, unless you count the ones from family and a few friends. It is silent. My god people, you’re gone but not dead. You use to turn down work because you were always over booked. You were just too damn busy. But wait, you forgot. You willingly left all of that behind. Remember? By comparison, you’ve already witnessed the exit of many of your counterparts: running for the door never to be seen or heard from again. You’re not one of them.

On the other hand, others left their employers but never really exited. They’re the annuitants that are now consultants, interim managers, or hold high-level positions in complementary professions. Sightings at conferences, dinners, mixers or sitting as chairperson of some new cutting edge task force are commonplace. You’re not one of them either. You’re somewhere in between. Since you’ve traveled along four interrelated career paths, you’ve never really spent enough time in anyone narrowly prescribed profession to be considered a club member. You’ve not been taught the secret handshake. Your larger than average business card collection is a testament to your voluntary professional mobility. Your interests have always crisscrossed career boundaries. After all, you’re a “Jack of All Trades.” Yet contrary to the negative underpinnings of this age-old adage, you did master quite a few skills. You’re not a mile wide and an inch deep or an inch wide and a mile deep. Again, you’re some where in between. From a myriad of venues and vantage points, you’ve witnessed the views and opinions of those with positional authority and those without. Weather behind a mike, across a desk, or under the breath, you’ve heard a lot. By sheer volume, these experiences would not have been as numerous had your career been stationary. You have been more than fortunate. You’ve been provided a breadth and depth of experience not obtained in any one profession or within the confines of a municipal boundary. To say the least, it has been interesting.

So at this point in life what does any of this matter? It’s all in the rearview mirror. Your current search for personal relevance won’t be found in the past. Maybe you need to take a deep breath and meditate. Relax and enjoy the quiet. Just make sure you don’t succumb to your inner hermit. You still have teaching, mentoring and the pen.  There are  places to go, people to meet, knowledge to be had.  Stacks of books and unlistened podcasts await. By the way, there is that analog stereo system with that 1,000 record collection to revisit. Awh yes–From Pavarotti to Zeppelin and every player in between. The Bose 901’s await.

4 thoughts on “When The Full-Time Commute is Over—Now What? An Open Conversation with Myself—Part 3 — It Sure Can Be Quiet — by Steve Harding

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  1. Hi Steve, I’m not retired (or even near), but have started to pull out some old vinyl records, in more or less part nostalgia, part reflection and part to remember why I bought it in some cases 50 years ago. It is also a piece of my quiet/me time

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