Re-Imagining Retirement: Experience the ideal

Sharon Rolph

I’m kinda weird and perhaps idealistic, since a profile test I took a long time ago classified me as someone who falls into “Experience the Ideal” type of person. They explained it as being someone who brings “the heavens down to earth or things that are abstract down into some tangible form or expression. And, it is deeply fulfilling for these people.” Yes! That’s me.

Could it be tied to the fact that potential has always been the ultimate big mystery to me. I used to imagine standing before God when life is over and having to admit, “You know, some of that talent You gave me, I buried it!” That would be so wrong in my mind! Potential and purpose were something I felt were a mystery to be pursued – intentionally.

A new twist to this weirdness is that I’ve been sensing for two to three years that heaven actually wants to come to earth. Each Sunday, when we say the Lord’s Prayer, after all, we say “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

What would that actually look like? Who knows! What’s possible?

Since I have followed a few people’s near-death-experiences, their fascinating stories include descriptions of amazingly beautiful lakes, flowers and fragrances. Beauty is everywhere. Peace. Joy.

Wait! Heaven on earth would have to include lots of joy, then.

The amazing thing is so many of us don’t know what brings us joy anymore. Or, happiness. This is frequently the topic where retirement coaches start from, with retirees. The stresses of work, health, family and responsibilities, didn’t allow much time for focus on happiness and joy after all.

When I started my coaching studies, the first thing we did was create our Essence statement. Then later, when I wondered if my retired days were productive or not, I would re-read my Essence statement. Sometimes two or three times a day. Gradually I realized, every day felt productive when I lived it from my Essence. Everyday felt “right” because I was living from my best. I was inner-directed and productive according to my values, significance and uniqueness.

I even found a company recently who is helping new workers become aware of and understand their Inner Spark (Essence) in much the same way. Like living from their DNA. This helps give the new workers  skills in people acuity, to understand their strengths and, where they are weak, and then allow team members’ Inner Spark to contribute in an interdependent way, complementing each other. Sounds like “heaven on earth” to me!

Living from my inner self, my DNA, contributing from my uniqueness within the retirement time freedom and being my own boss definitely would help me shine now! I could find a lot of joy in that. Revive a few dreams. Create my own projects and legacy. Live from my heart. Remember what makes me smile, happy and content, too.

We grew up doing a lot of comparisons, didn’t we? Having to wear the right haircut, jeans, styles, etc. Forget all that! Living from my unique Essence/DNA/Inner Spark allows me to be fully myself – heaven on earth. Free to be me. Might have some natural talent to go along with it, too. That’s when I can feel complete and fulfilled. Sounds like effortless vitality to me.

— By Sharon Rolph

Sharon Rolph is a retirement coach who lives in Edmonds. Her new book, Fresh Courage in Retirement: finding purpose, Essence and fulfillment, will be released Sept. 14. Learn more at



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