Re-Imagining Retirement: The courage to be yourself

Sharon Rolph

How often have you needed great courage to be yourself? Express your uniqueness. It’s risky, right? And yet comparing ourselves to others, is paralyzing. Instead, revitalize yourself by warmly recalling the things you have done well. It’ll give you mental strength, according to Andy Shaw, to move forward.

Courage requires stopping and looking fear in the face. – Eleanor Roosevelt

It often takes courage to leave home, go to college, relocate or try something new. A leap of faith is required. I am the only one in my family to go to college. I laugh when I remember a quote I’ve heard, “Yeah, they were outstanding in their field. Out, standing in their field!” Growing up on a farm, I could really relate and that’s how I felt sometimes. Different. Not understood, perhaps. But accepting of it, too.

It takes courage to show love. It takes courage to tell the real truth. It takes courage to stand against injustice. But what power! The risk has rewards. Believe it!

It takes courage to ask for help. It takes courage to reach out. It takes courage to collaborate.

When you want things to change, your awareness is the first step. What makes a difference though, is when you become courageous enough to try something. Being curious would be a second step. What’s possible? Trying something could be the third step. As a teen, when I got a new idea to try something, it usually took me three times (maybe get used to it) before I was ready to try it.

It takes courage to care. It takes courage to process grief. It takes courage to get outside yourself. Me => We.

Move away from self-pity and look for the sunrise, Dr. Bob Nicholson, a recent guest on my Maximize Retirement radio talk show, said about courage. Move away from limiting boundaries, be inspired by collaborating with others and stand in amazement of what results show up. He likes to recommend the 3rd Act Magazine for informative and courageous stories of navigating life as we age.

I dare say many, if not most, have faced their uniqueness and embraced this principle: if it is to be, it is up to me. We are waiting for your contribution; your courage! Courage builds confidence.

Could you consider choosing courage, more often? I’m not one to live my life based on fear. Are you?

One of my favorite quotes about fear is by local businessman Dan Zadra: Worry is the misuse of imagination.

My next What Do I Want to Do in Retirement? Connecting with purpose in retirement workshop comes up Monday March 11th at the Mill Creek Senior Center at 10 a.m. Their address is 4111 133rd St. S.E., Mill Creek (across from the Penny Creek Elementary School). Lynnwood Senior Center is hosting this workshop on a Saturday, for those will working, on March 30 at 11:15 a.m.

Listen Thursdays at 9 a.m. to Maximize Retirement at or on iHeart and Roku. Browse the show archives here:

— By Sharon Rolph

Sharon Rolph is a 25-plus-year resident of Lynnwood and Edmonds and earned her masters degree in applied behavioral science and bachelor’s degree in administration from City University. Her career includes many years at GTE and Boeing in Everett and Tukwila. She presents What Do I Want to Do in Retirement? Connecting with Purpose in Retirement workshops at senior centers.

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