I knew it was time to retire during an important business meeting with a group of twenty-something Vice Presidents. I had just pitched a totally hip and very irreverent movie campaign targeted to 18 year old guys. My clients loved it!
It was a done deal and I nearly jumped up to belly slam the VPs. (Kidding, but I was excited.) Then I heard the 25 year old Sr. VP say, in her too sweet, squeaky voice say, "I can't believe YOU came up with this idea!" The YOU she meant was ME-- a then nearly 50 year old ME! Translation: I was old enough to be her mother and couldn't possible be that cool.
Talk about a buzz kill. She called me O L D -- To my face. In front of a room full of other 20-something people. Who thought it was funny. Damn!
Was I gracious about her "old age" implications? No, actually, I wasn't. I remained silent and let her dig her embarrassed, muffin-topped ass out of the conversation, while I mentally calculated how much more I was going to charge her for the campaign she loved so much.
I was 49 1/2 at the time and will never forget that day. It felt like the beginning of the end. Everywhere I turned, 50 was screaming at me with all it's ugly, over the hill, implications. I was not happy.
But wait! When I turned 50 I could retire if I wanted to! That's a big deal! Not everyone can kick back before Social Security kicks in. I'd reached a milestone, a huge accomplishment, the American Dream for crying out loud. So why did I feel so bad?
I did not like being viewed as, "the old dog on the porch". I fancied myself as hip, in touch and still at the top of my game. But dealing with ever-younger executives was, frankly, exhausting.
I thought long and hard about retirement. The last thing I wanted to do was walk away from a successful business for all the wrong reasons. But as the months passed, I knew it was the right decision for me.
So I phased out my business and jumped into retirement.
And hated it!
No longer working 12 hour days left me with a lot of time on my hands. The silence nearly killed me. The sheer boredom, despite a ton of charity work and a mile long "to-do" list, was painful. And, the lack of focus and purpose nearly drove me nuts. This is not what I had planned.
It's been a little over a year since I retired. Although I'm still trying to find my way, I have to admit, being bored out of my mind is still way better than doing business with 20-somethings all day long.
Have you ever had the "old dog on the porch" feeling?
Welcome to TheFiftyFactor.com - Joanna