We all have a favorite sweater. One that makes us look like a million or just plain feels good. It’s worn, but you reach for it year after year. The other day I looked closer at my go-to cardigan and saw a single bright thread running all the way through the weave. Instead of lamenting the flaw, I decided it added color and interest. It made the sweater mine.
When I look back on my long career in and out of the workforce, it is full of what others could perceive as imperfections—jobs that were off color, out of place, or sewn randomly into the fabric of my life.
But in fact there’s a colorful thread connecting all my ages and stages. Now an empty nester with a husband deep into his own retirement pursuits, I have the time to finally see the patterns in my career choices—and the paths I will likely follow through my “retirement” years.
My thread begins in 6th grade when I won my first essay writing contest. The thread is then woven into every job I ever held — college newspaper editor, public relations director, editorial assistant, special events manager, antique shop owner and yes, even decorator, wife and mother. All my activities were centered around writing, reading and researching–the things I most enjoy.
Not too long ago I thought it would be fun to take a writing course, and it immediately felt like home. I fell into a familiar rhythm and soon started a new freelance journalist adventure. After some fits and starts, I’ve finally discovered that what suits me best was hanging in my wardrobe of talents all along.
We all have a thread in our lives, yet sometimes through many years and many jobs our eyes aren’t open to what we truly love to do. Age gives us the freedom to weave the same thread in new ways, to mend holes and to reinforce stitches.
What should you do in retirement? Find and follow your thread.
This post was contributed by guest blogger, Ryder Ziebarth, a New Jersey-based freelance journalist and life coach.