Interview: Thinking Of Retiring? Consider Dimming The Lights!

Interview: Thinking Of Retiring? Consider Dimming The Lights!

As we get older (and yes we really do), we often say to ourselves, “I can’t retire, I’d be bored silly.”   We can’t imagine how we’d fill the time and the change of routine is also a bit intimidating. I know, because that was exactly what I was thinking when I was “challenged” to retire.

I love to travel, am active in animal charities, and love to attend the theatre and concerts, but I realized that these things couldn’t possibly fill the 50 – 70 hours per week that I normally work. Don’t get me wrong, I never complain about my hours working; I love equally what I do both for a living and play time. I have found the right balance of the two.

Thank you to my friend Adrian Miller for conducting the following interview and helping me make sense of the route I have taken.

Can you differentiate for us the difference between full retirement and “dimming the lights?”

I differentiate full retirement and “dimming the lights” this way:

Full Retirement:  I am no longer working with my clients and I am no longer working in the business world as I know it today.
Dimming The Lights:  I have the opportunity to keep my hands in something I love to do – working with clients – while allowing me the luxury of taking time off whenever I choose.

What led you to this decision?

In 2015 my husband decided to retire after many years with the MTA Bridges and Tunnels. He was young and at the time, I didn’t think that I would ever retire. Watching him on a daily basis was interesting because he always found something to do – whether it was in the house, with his friends, or his family. I have many professional friends and while we have created personal friendships, would it be the same? Our relationships would change and I would miss what we have. On the other hand, I do have family and childhood friends and I would get to share more time with them.

So I decided to give this a try! In the middle of 2016, I determined that I was going to try to take off every Friday during the summer. Can you guess how that worked out for me? Out of 12 Summer Fridays, I may have taken 3 – and still worked 3 hours of that day. In 2017 I promised myself that I was going to take off every Friday. It worked! But that was the summer.

In 2018, I needed to challenge myself. I decided to work 3 days per week to try to get some extra time with my husband. Did it work? Well, almost.

I also wanted to take time to see my great niece and great nephew more often, spend time with retired friends, and lunch “with the girls” occasionally. I also wanted the freedom to jump on a plane on a Thursday night and visit my brother in Florida.

The result: I like the new freedom! As you can see, this decision was not made easily; it took 3 years!

Are you still networking?

I found that I am not doing as much networking as I had before 2018. Gradually I decided that there were professionals with whom I am very close and these are people have become personal friends. There are other professionals that have drifted organically but I am lucky we do make efforts to touch base whether through LinkedIn, Facebook or when they receive our newsletter and blogs.

Additionally, I have been fortunate over the past 14 years to have made some wonderful contacts and associations. I may have met somebody 5 years ago and they didn’t need my services then, but I get calls today asking me for help. I guess you can say that this is still a form of networking!

In the future, how do you continue to “dim the lights” and when do you know enough is enough?

There will be a point in life when I’ll decide perhaps I want to move off of Long Island. That would be the point that I would consider “shutting” the lights, saying enough is enough, and retiring. Until that time (and as long as companies ask for my help, I love what I do, and my health holds out) I’m not sure that I would totally shut the lights.

So I’m here!  Looking forward to working with you.

December 6, 2018