I am now using weekly themes for blogs on this website. This week’s theme is “Encore Living.”
I read about encore living long before I officially retired from my career teaching at a community college. At first, I thought ‘encore’ simply meant taking on a new lifestyle after retirement. After more reading, I learned that the word ‘encore’ in retirement is often associated with encore careers—something generally thought of as doing meaningful work that we create or find during a distinct period of our life. That distinct period often begins as we enter our fifties. Encore work may include a combination of service, personal passion or meaning, and income.
Wanting to Make A Difference
As we enter our fifties and beyond, time takes on a different meaning–for one, we usually start realizing we’re mortal. Even if we plan to live thirty, forty, or more years, we don’t have forever to make our mark and feel as though our lives mattered.
When I reached my fiftieth birthday, I felt like a switch came on. I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to invest in other people, I wanted to do something I loved, and I wanted to get paid—I wanted an encore career. My choice for an encore career was to teach full-time at a community college. I believed I was very qualified for the position I wanted; I had years of experience teaching while working full-time in other education-related positions. What I wasn’t prepared for was ageism.
New Awareness and a Subtle Shift
When I was in my thirties and forties, I had no problem landing the positions I was seeking. I had always been good at interviewing and could adapt my resume to reflect appropriate experience for whatever position I was wanting. However, that didn’t work when I was ready to find my dream job. The problem? I was older. People interviewing me were much younger; some were even as young as my own children.
Eventually, I did get my dream job when I met with a panel of interviewers who were as old as I was at the time. I stayed with my encore teaching position for over 14 years.
For over 14 years, I got to invest in students and witness transformations in the lives of many I taught. I also advocated for students whenever possible. I loved what I was doing. Still, I knew there would come I time when I’d need to move on. I was ready to ‘graduate’ from my encore career into my next new life.
Long before I officially retired, I started reading everything I could about transitioning into retirement. I also did a lot of self-reflection. I realized I didn’t want to spend the next few decades without doing something meaningful to me. I still wanted to invest in others and continue to learn. I also wanted to continue advocating for the things I believed in.
A Second Encore Career
During summer, prior to the term when retired from teaching, I became a certified professional retirement coach. I also developed a business plan and registered Boomer Best U as an LLC.
I have started my second encore career. I get to advocate for and invest in other people by sharing what I’m passionate about – positive aging and an end to ageist practices. Once again, I am living my dream. Life is good. I wish the same for you!