How I’m Learning to Brave the Uncertain Future

UPDATED: September 20, 2016
PUBLISHED: September 20, 2016

For about a decade, I’ve worked 50 to 90 hours a week between my full-time job and various freelance assignments. Those gigs have ranged from magazine cover stories to website blurbs, from catalog copy to social media posts. I’ve also edited books about sales and investment banking. Sometimes I’ve worked several consecutive weeks without a day off.

Now I’m about to make my scariest-ever career move: early retirement. For someone who likes to be in control and despises uncertainty, this change is unsettling in the extreme.

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Well-meaning friends and acquaintances have warned that retirement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and predicted I’ll be bored, which is probably my biggest worry. Another nagging concern is that, for 40 years, my identity has been entwined with my job—being a journalist is a big part of who I am.

I didn’t dismiss those fears, but ultimately I realized that, for me, the definite upsides to retirement outweigh those possible drawbacks. I can see more of my far-flung family, travel for pleasure, explore my artsy side, and indulge in a healthier lifestyle of sitting less and exercising more.

Brave? Maybe, or maybe not, because I’m not going all-in. I’ve hedged by opting for semiretirement, continuing my freelance gigs, including assignments from SUCCESS. Part-time work will keep me energized (the adrenaline surges that go along with looming deadlines) and mentally challenged (problem-solving is inherent in creating stories that flow gracefully, satisfy readers’ curiosity, and dot the i’s and cross the t’s of grammar). I’ll still be plugged into journalism, just freed from a hard-wired week-after-week schedule.

In the early going, I’ve queued up a couple of freelance contracts plus several home projects. I’ll also find time for a road trip to Hot Springs, Arkansas, and host a weeklong visit from my three daughters and granddaughter. After that, I plan to do volunteer work as well as travel to Australia and/or Europe in 2017.

Please wish me luck, happiness and, of course, success as I write this new chapter of my life.

Related: Why Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone Is Worth It—Even When It’s Uncomfortable


This article originally appeared in the October 2016 issue of SUCCESS magazine.