Re-Imagining Retirement: What needs expanding?

Sharon Rolph

Joyce Major started sensing a need to expand her heart. In her mid-50s and selling real estate in Seattle, she became uncomfortable with her life. Her two sons would be leaving college and home soon. What came next for her?

As it turns out, she dreamed a dream of doing community service projects around the world for a year! Twelve countries in 12 months. Now, getting ready became a two- to three-year process of researching, making inquiries and laying down plans. And saving money.

She shared her experience with me as my second podcast guest. What a delight. Listen here.

As a result of being courageous, thinking outside the box and honoring her heart’s desire, she describes her experience as, “jumping out of my life, my shoes, my houseboat and my career. I decided to celebrate my life with the gift of freedom for a full year and perhaps, just maybe, do a bit of good along the way.

“The result was 1. Opening myself up and seeing myself in a different way, 2. Experience love from wild animals, 3. The passion of others was contagious, 4. Volunteering as a refresher – the best facial ever – where you felt you have a whole new skin from a fresh look at the world, 5. I have a new heart and felt so much love from so many places, 6. I got a better sense of who I am and 6. I came back refreshed and proud. I honored the ‘go do’ urge that was in my heart.”

What needs expanding for you? Perhaps all those limitations you’ve had in the past, don’t exist now. I wonder if it’s possible to turn your focus on engaging your latent resources? To open up and see yourself in a new way? What’s possible?

When my brother died, I was pleased that his wife reinvented herself. She enrolled in a swimming class, signed up for a couple volunteer gigs in town and even filled in at her old retail job occasionally. She took up painting again and kept up a garden. I often recall the memory of when she gave me a leaf of stevia she grew herself.

For me, my sense of fun needs expanding. Playing Wheel of Fortune isn’t cutting it anymore. I used to have a decent sense of adventure to travel and try new things. Going to Kingston for lunch still counts, I guess. But otherwise, my sense of adventure seems mostly shriveled up. Unless going to lunch with new guys counts?

Maybe your sense of generosity needs expanding? I recently added a new volunteer driving gig to my weekly schedule.

How are you doing with your sense of gratitude? Often gratefulness expands our attitude, our day, our spirit and our love.

Spring has a way of expanding our spirit and our gardens with new growth, doesn’t it? Plants and trees coming back to life all around our homes and community with color and aliveness. Happy spring!

Sharon Rolph is an essence and retirement coach who lives in Edmonds and aspires to be an international speaker. Her new book, Fresh Courage in Retirement: finding purpose, Essence and fulfillment, is now available through herself and Amazon. Learn more at



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