Mission Accomplished; Redirection at 60!

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The power that we all possess to envision an outcome, and then have it happen, is astounding. This is the one lesson that I would go back in time and whisper to my twenty something self.

About five years ago, I decided that one of my life goals would be to retire from the corporate world at 60. And I did it! I am now two months in, feeling fantastic and very excited about this phase of life. And like all journeys, the key is first figuring out where you want to go, with as much clarity as possible. Then have fun making and executing your plan on how to get there.


The first step for me, was to re-frame the meaning of the word ‘retirement’. While there are a lot of positive emotions, like freedom to do what you want, the word also conjures up fear. Fear that this is the end, the final curtain call. And when I announced my retirement from Philips back in April, the flood of emotions expressed by my colleagues, triggered many tears. I was so grateful for the heartfelt emails, conversations, and retirement events. It was difficult for some to understand why “someone at my age”, with so much more to offer the organization, was calling it quits.


The negative emotion that kept popping into my psyche was abandonment. (surprisingly not the worry of having enough money) Those last 3 months were far more challenging emotionally than I anticipated. After working 37.5 years straight with 4 different organizations, I guess the routine of work was much more than just physical and mental. 


The reason that I went to work in the first place in 1981 was survival. At the time, I was happy with my ‘career’ as a rock musician. However, when the student loan guy started phoning my mother, that motivated (not inspired) me to use my business degree. I met many amazing and inspiring people throughout my career and am grateful for the Corporate experience.    

 Now it is time to REDIRECT my energy. To explore the 60+ phase of life and not be tied down with the responsibility of a Corporate gig.


As I used to tell my sales teams, it is now Onwards and Upwards. There are so many things that I want to do, like finally devoting enough time to get half decent at golf and studying/achieving certification in Hypnosis.

Like in Business Planning, you need to figure out first what it is you truly want to accomplish out of the gate, make a priority list, and then execute the actions required. Here are my top four:

  1. Work with my better half in her Young Living Essential Oils business. The opportunity to help others have a better life (physically, mentally, and emotionally), is the key to leading a fulfilling life. Not unlike my final career stop where we helped so many people live a safer life with Philips Lifeline.
  2. Pick back up on my music and entertainment talents. While I have always maintained and even improved my bluesharp and singing acumen over the years, now is the time to do it a whole lot MORE!
  3. Compete and establish a ranking in the over 60 division in Canadian Master’s Tennis.
  4. Continue to improve my writing skills.

I recently listened to an online seminar with Eckhart Tolle. He left me with this:

  • The past is history
  • The future a mystery
  • But the Present is a GIFT!

This present moment is all we have, so take the time to smell the roses. Or should I say Essential Oils.


Ward Tipton Added Aug 27, 2018 - 9:53am
I always pictured myself spending a lot more time fishing. 
Stone-Eater Added Aug 27, 2018 - 10:15am
On Sept. 26 I call it quits too - also at 60. Although I will have to work in Senegal - I don't call that "work" because I like it, am self-employed and live where I want to be.
And who knows - I might find a funkrockmbalax band where me and my guitar fit in :))
Bill H. Added Aug 27, 2018 - 10:38am
I retired back in 2011 at age 61 from a major telecommunications company. Most of the department directors had worked their way up the ladder from field work, and were full of knowledge and experience. They also knew how to assemble and maintain teams with high morale and work ethics.
Beginning around 2004, company priorities began to change from quality service at reasonable prices to simply profits. Of course, this included cutbacks on both personnel and network maintenance efforts to a "freeze" on wage hikes. The next phase involved cutting back on management and combining not only more departments, but other outlying system departments in other area cities, which involved traveling and motel stays.
To most of us who had been with the company for many years, the writing was on the walls, so about 15 of us retired early and took the "golden parachute" offer.
I spend most of my time fishing, upgrading the house, playing around on ham radio, and fixing tube amplifiers for local bands.
John Minehan Added Aug 27, 2018 - 11:14am
Mr. Hunter:
Best wishes on future endeavors.  Just based on what you have written here you seem to be a man of insight who will find a lot to accomplish.  (Which, as is often the case, might be very different from what you set out to do.)  
TexasLynn Added Aug 27, 2018 - 12:01pm
Congratulations.  I wish you a long and successful "final curtain". :)
Of all your post, we finally hit upon one we can completely agree.  Despite my haranguing, I do enjoy your writing.  Keep it up.
I'm just a bit younger than you... and (the Good Lord willing) don't plan to retire until 60 (or better yet 65).  I worked 20 years in corporate America (Enron, Electronic Data Systems, Koch, Merrill Lynch...).  Don't get me wrong, it was rewarding, profitable and I worked with a lot of great people... but ten years ago, I said enough.
I took a 50% pay cut and moved back "home" to a small Texas town.  I was very lucky to find a family owned and oriented business to work for.  My expenses were reduced to gas, taxes, insurance, and utilities.  My commute is fifteen minutes as opposed to an hour and fifteen minutes).  I'm surrounded by family and friends.  It has been a completely satisfying experience.
I now tell people, I'm semi-retired... I just happen to work 40+ hours a week.
Keep us up to date on your transition and progress.  Retirement isn't stopping... it's doing something else.
Dino Manalis Added Aug 27, 2018 - 1:42pm
 Congratulations!  All the Best!
Leroy Added Aug 27, 2018 - 4:25pm
Congratulations on meeting your milestone, Stephen!
The Canadian system is a little different from the American one, isn't it?  A Canadian colleague in Canada told me he was considering to retire at 55.  He said that after 30 years of working, you were allowed to retire in Canada.  I took it with a grain of salt.  There were other things he told me (about guns, for example) that did not seem to be true.
My goal was to work until I dropped dead.  I started working when I was 11.  It is all I know.  I figured that at 62 I would change careers.  Life has a way of changing your plans. 
Stephen Hunter Added Aug 27, 2018 - 5:24pm
Ward, if fishing is what you want to do more of, put it in your mind and it will happen.
Stephen Hunter Added Aug 27, 2018 - 5:27pm
Stone, that is fantastic. I agree that not beholden to an employer is freedom, however it is tough to make the leap and give up the cash flow.
Maybe I could add some blues harp to that funky little jazz outfit! 
Stephen Hunter Added Aug 27, 2018 - 5:33pm
Bill, I hear many similar scenarios from friends who have taken the golden parachute. Companies encourage this for sure in the age of down sizing. I also feel that as one hits close to the 60 and 65 age range, many companies would rather pay younger employees a fraction of the amount, as the tenured employee. 
Stephen Hunter Added Aug 27, 2018 - 5:35pm
Thank-you John. You are right, things can change and not turn out as expected, so adaptability is a key. 
Stephen Hunter Added Aug 27, 2018 - 5:39pm
Texas, you made my day and really do appreciate your compliment on my writing. 
Love it when we totally agree!!!
Looks like you made a really intelligent career choice, favoring your inner satisfaction over physical possessions and the almighty dollar. 
Stephen Hunter Added Aug 27, 2018 - 5:40pm
Thanks Dino!
Stephen Hunter Added Aug 27, 2018 - 5:48pm
Thank-you Leroy. 
In the Canadian system they take out of every paycheck a deduction for CPP. (Canada Pension Plan) If you work for 35 years or so like I did, you will have contributed enough to get the maximum payout. For me at age 60(youngest age possible) my first bank deposit was about $770 for the month. I expect that is the amount that I will get ongoing until death. At age 65, in Canada you also get the Old Age Security payout- which I understand is about $850 per month. 
Jeff Michka Added Aug 27, 2018 - 5:51pm
Congrats, Stephen.  I hope retirement goes well for you.  I retired a few years back, but since my wife is still working, there's lots of time I have that I didn't know I'd have.  Been good, have had the time recently, to get my musical chops back, and even went back to work part time to save up for offshore travel and life.  What ever course you take, may it be good on you and yours.  Career isn't everything, it's generally means to an end, and with luck "end" will be a long time off. 
Stephen Hunter Added Aug 27, 2018 - 6:13pm
Thanks Jeff! Nice to see you have got your music back. When I am playing music, time stands still. Except when I am practicing and my mind wanders.....
Jeff Michka Added Aug 27, 2018 - 6:17pm
Bill's Birthday Bash is this Saturday, and we just did our last rehearsal before the gig.  Think we sound ok.  Have spent the last month singing when I drive, take a shit or mow the lawn.  I'm still not that good, but am a bit more fluid, and have a little range. and with right effects can do a reasonable "Plant scream." LOL
Stephen Hunter Added Aug 27, 2018 - 6:32pm
Have fun Jeff. The thing is we can keep getting better especially with the voice. The Plant screams, well maybe not so much- :)
Logical Man Added Aug 27, 2018 - 7:15pm
I didn't go down the corporate road, I've always done something I enjoy for a living - graphics & illustration mostly with a bit of 3D modelling/animation in the mix. Life (ex-wife) circumstances mean that I have little saved for retirement, but I live small and should be OK. I doubt I'll actually retire as I'd do a lot of what I do for free if I could afford it, I'll just have the flexibility to choose my projects. I'll likely get back to making a few more long bows and ride my mountain bike more and hopefully get myself a small camper to travel around the place. A canoe would be good too.
Nothing better than being out in nature for improving the mood.
Working on 2020 as the target date. I'll be 65, but fortunately the old bod is well maintained and still works pretty well. A big part of my retirement plan is staying physically fit so I can enjoy it.
Jeffry Gilbert Added Aug 28, 2018 - 7:50am
In a couple months I will have been retired 22 years. The most important thing you can do for yourself is to stay busy doing something. Anything that keeps you moving around and interested.
Stephen Hunter Added Aug 28, 2018 - 8:05am
Logical man, looks like you are in a good place. As long as you are doing what you love to do anyway, retirement is only a word. Having that freedom to do what you want at the pace you want, is the key to living a life with purpose and fulfillment. 
Stephen Hunter Added Aug 28, 2018 - 8:06am
Thank-you Jeffry for the advice, I totally agree. Wow 22 years!
Lindsay Wheeler Added Aug 28, 2018 - 8:56pm
Enjoy your time off, you've earned it!  Relax now and smell the roses!
Stephen Hunter Added Aug 28, 2018 - 10:14pm
Thank-you Lindsay, I will 'work' at it. :)
Stone-Eater Added Aug 29, 2018 - 12:51am
Sure would be a good adding, that harp :-)
Stephen Hunter Added Aug 29, 2018 - 7:36pm
Fast shuffle from the 5 chord- ready,    1 and 2 and a 1,2,3,4 ....... it would be FUN Stone. 
Jeff Michka Added Aug 29, 2018 - 8:57pm
But can you do a decent Plant scream, LM?  If you play Stephan, music back in your life can never hurt.  All but the drummer in the band are retired, and all the rest have been very pleased playing and practicing for last few months.  Although this show is a neighborhood party one-up, there's already some small talk about playing on after. adding a few tunes to the set.  My wife, hearing this just rolled her eyes and swear I heard her say, "Not again..." under her breath and she laughed.  First years of our marriage, I was on the road until my son was born.  But there are a couple of local taverns we could play.  LOL
Mustafa Kemal Added Aug 29, 2018 - 10:46pm
Stephen, I will admit that i avoided your post because I was certain Id be jealous. And I was right.
For me, I have not one problem in finding out where to go next, what to next. I certainly dont have a problem with abandonment. My problem is that I was forced out and my finances are not too good. However, I landed on my feet and am still working to put the last child through college. Lets hope she becomes self supporting soon. Im getting tired and a little too slow upstairs for the line of work I am in.
One of the problems I think many people have with retirement, especially those that like their work, is that they identify themselves with what they do; I am a ....  Once you get over that and remind yourself you have only one ride through you start saying instead, what am I going to be next? I know what I would be. I would be living in Iran speaking farsi.
Congratulations, i mean it, you deserve it. 
Get the band back together!
Stephen Hunter Added Aug 30, 2018 - 8:00pm
Jeff, too funny your wife's comment! Totally get that! The wheel of life comes around.
Stephen Hunter Added Aug 30, 2018 - 8:18pm
Mustafa thanks so much for your kind and eloquent words. You seem like you have the right attitude and your day will come soon. I am rooting for you!
Mustafa Kemal Added Aug 30, 2018 - 11:35pm
Thanks Stephen, I am fortunate that I love my work. 
I took up the harp for awhile and had half assed renditions of Junior Well's Messin with the Kid and his version of Sonny Boy Williams' Help Me.
You got to hep me.
Can you do it?
Stephen Hunter Added Aug 31, 2018 - 7:32am
I think for learning rock/blues harp, the quickest way is to play along with songs. To do that you have to have the right key harmonica. Are you aware of 2nd position? (i.e if the song is in A you would use a D harp and mostly use draw(suck) with the blow notes mostly on the 1 or 4 hole blow- or a combination of the 1-4 holes)
Stephen Hunter Added Aug 31, 2018 - 7:36am
The 2 hole draw is your root note in this 2nd position.(sometimes called cross harp) Most stuff resolves back to the 2 hole draw. so if you noodle around but always end up back at 2 draw, you are usually ok. 
Mustafa Kemal Added Aug 31, 2018 - 9:28am
re:"You got to hep me.
Can you do it?"
I think I confused you. I was quoting Junior Wells singing Help Me,
see Junior Wells
and then I was wondering if you have ever tried to play Wells.
The reason I quit was I didnt like having something in my mouth that long. But I sure enjoyed it .
opher goodwin Added Aug 31, 2018 - 10:05am
All the Best Stephen. Retirement is quite a change and no matter how well prepared you are it hits you. You go from someone who is important, whose views count, who has power and influence, to the role of being a nobody in one fell swoop. It can take a bit of adjustment.
I retired 7 years ago after 36 years in teaching. I left early in order to put time and energy into the things I wanted to do, the things that had been neglected due to the time consuming and energy sapping rigours of a career. I wanted to write, to travel and to read. That is what I've been doing. There aren't enough minutes in the day.
opher goodwin Added Aug 31, 2018 - 10:06am
BTW - what were you doing in the Rock business?
Stephen Hunter Added Sep 1, 2018 - 6:49am
Mustafa, oops yes I missed the Junior Wells 'hep me' song reference. Yes I love his stuff and love to play his tunes. Messin with the Kid is one I have done many times. 
Stephen Hunter Added Sep 1, 2018 - 6:52am
You know Opher, that is what I am finding with the not enough hours in the day thing. Perhaps it is just the excitement of these first couple of months with the yoke of a career responsibility off of my neck. But as you point out you are finding the same, 7 years in. 
Stephen Hunter Added Sep 1, 2018 - 7:00am
After graduating from university, we decided to keep the band together and hit the road, playing bars and taverns in Eastern Canada. This band did rock and more traditional east coast style stuff. Left that band, formed another more new wave type outfit, where I got to sing more and jump off tables and things like that. (Sex Pistols tune) Had so much fun, but then the student loans and having n money sunk in, so started my career using my Business degree.
Now here we are at this juncture! I have kept up my chops over the years with the harp, and looking forward to playing a lot more than the full time job allowed me. 
opher goodwin Added Sep 2, 2018 - 5:31am
Stephen - when you can play music you always have friends and you are never at a loose end.
Sounds like you had fun.
Yes retirement gets plenty full. I spend my time writing, reading, travelling and with friends and relatives. Looking after grandchildren too!
It's a pleasant life.
I was toying with running my history of Rock Music class again but I don't think I'd have time to fit it in!
Stone-Eater Added Sep 2, 2018 - 6:34am
Let's make up a band rehearsing over the net LOL That would be fun. I can offer guitar and some piano as a start.....
Stone-Eater Added Sep 2, 2018 - 6:37am
Rock music class in times of cut'n'paste hiphoprapraggatriphopdrumnbasstrancetechnodubstepdancefloorhousebreakbeat ?
0 attendants LOL
Stephen Hunter Added Sep 2, 2018 - 10:38am
So true Oph! Speaking of grandchildren, our first just arrived last night, 20 hours labour and finally a C section. Grateful all are doing well!
Stephen Hunter Added Sep 2, 2018 - 10:40am
Stone that would be something! I know that technology exists and look forward to learning how to have internet jams and such. 

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