Bonjour! I recently returned from a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the French Alps, a gift to my husband in celebration of a milestone birthday. The photo above shows me leading an impromptu workshop about second-act careers for our fellow travelers – unquestionably the nicest setting I’ll ever “work” in.
Because my husband loves good cheeses, we decided to travel with CheeseJourneys.com, a unique tour company that creates “unforgettable food travel opportunities that allow you to share in their passion for artisan cheeses, the individuals who create them and the cultures that nourish them.”
As advertised, the trip proved unforgettable. But for me, one of the best parts of the trip was the opportunity to get to know my fellow boomer-generation travelers - several of whom enjoy food and travel related second-act careers. Let me briefly share a bit about their stories in the hope that they will inspire your own second-act shift:
Can you turn what you own into what you do during semi-retirement?
Whether it’s a treasured collection of antique postcards, a garden overflowing with organic vegetables or a movie-set worthy home, chances are at least some of what you own might generate retirement-based income.
I got to thinking about this option recently while visiting The Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, CT. More than just a museum, this stunning property has served as the home of the Lyme Art Colony, America’s center of Impressionism, for over a century.
The museum’s collections and charming gardens are well worth a trip. But what I most appreciated about my visit was the opportunity to learn about Florence Griswold and her second act. It’s an impressive tale that has some valuable lessons for us all about grit, moxie and working with what you got.
If you’re a NPR geek like me, you’ve likely heard that Dave Isay, the founder of StoryCorps recently published a new book Callings: The Purpose and Passion of Work. Culled from over 65,000 recorded StoryCorps interviews, the stories demonstrate that vocational passion and fulfillment can be found in the most unexpected ways and places.
I read the book this past weekend and enjoyed it thoroughly. I think you will too.
While the book is more an inspirational read than a how-to guide, Isay includes a list of thought-provoking questions at the end of the book that I think are worth sharing. (Technically these questions are designed to get people to open for their StoryCorps interviews, but I think they’re equally useful as a means to help you find your calling).
While not all the questions will resonate, at least a few should prompts some insights into your values, motivators and passions as you plan your second act.
Here are some of my favorites:
- What were the happiest moments of your life? The saddest?
- Who has been the most important person in your life?
- What lessons has your work life taught you?
- What are you the proudest of in your life?
- Are there any words of wisdom you’d like to pass along to me?
- How has your life been different than what you’d imagined?
- How would you like to be remembered?
- Do you have any regrets?
Interesting food for thought, no? I hope you’ll take some time to mull these over.
To learn more about the book and to hear a few of the interviews, be sure to check out this NextAvenue.org post Finding Your Calling Through Work.
In my never ending quest for inspirational second-act stories, I just found another wonderful resource I had to share. This incredible video collection comes courtesy of The Story Exchange, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit global video project and website empowering women to achieve economic independence through entrepreneurship.
While the site is intended for women, and not specifically for boomers, you’ll find tons of inspiration here for your second act. Here’s just a small sampling of the videos you’ll find:
Thinking about working with your ‘honey’ during semi-retirement? Then you might enjoy reading Let’s Make Money Honey: The Couple’s Gide to Starting a Service Business by husband and wife team Barry Silverstein and Sharon Wood. It’s an entertaining and informative guide that offers how-to advice on each step of the entrepreneurial journey.
This is certainly not the only book out there for couples interested in working together, but after reading it, there are three reasons why I recommend it: