Creating A New Life


Chicago, IL.

Creating A New Life

I think we all heard the story of people who retired and died shortly afterward because of boredom. I’m pretty sure this is an urban legend at best. Mainly because it would be impossible to prove. And I’m sure no one keeps these types of statistics. Besides, we all know people who retired and lived long happy lives.

So why do these stories persist?

Probably because we remember the stories that have this outcome. I saw something very similar happen myself. It was in the early 90s and I was working on a 3 year project at a Chicago area university. It was there I met a guy, who worked in the facilities department, that I’ll call Jack.

The first time I met Jack, I asked him, “How’s it going”? His reply was, it’s getting better every day. I have 6 months till I retire. I can’t wait to get out of this place. This type of reply repeated until a couple of weeks before his retirement. He would look at his watch and say I have six days and three and a half hours left.

Well, retirement came. Everyone told Jack, ” congratulations “! and wished him the best. Usually, that would be the end of the story. But just two weeks later, Jack stopped by the university to say hi to everyone. He said he was glad to be retired and not working there anymore. And two weeks later, he stopped by again to say hi. And two weeks after that… and two weeks after that.

What happened to Jack?

Jack was so consumed with hating his job that he never let any other thought enter his mind. So when he retired his mind was still consumed with thoughts of how much he hated his job… not with what he wanted to do after retirement. I don’t know how life went for Jack. But I do know that people at the university felt sorry for him. They knew he was lost without his hatred of his old job.

Jack needed to create a new life.

And I have to do the same. I sold everything I own. I have no car, no home, no storage locker, only what I have packed in a carry-on bag and a backpack. And after spending the last 6-9 months planning this trip. I now need to create a new life.

So what would you do if you have every day free to do whatever you wanted?

I’ll tell you what I’ll be doing in the next post.

Until then, enjoy life’s journey.

Joe OBrien

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