Throw In The Towel
When You Know It’s Time To Quit
“The only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on. It is never of any use to oneself.” — Oscar Wilde
As I was sitting there listening to her complain about her clients, it was plain as day that it was time for her to move on to other things.
This wasn’t anything new, we’d had similar discussions before, but it was just that during the last couple of months she’d become tired of it all.
When she started her career in the 70’s, everything was new and exciting. During the next decade (the decade I was born) she went from novice to master.
Few things in life has brought her as much pleasure as helping people.
But after having a month off during summer, when most of us would come back rested and energized, she felt for the first time that she didn’t have much to look forward to when she came back.
She’d seen too much, given too much advice people didn’t act on, and the clients she had now were more interested in complaining than achieving results.
I asked her if she’d thought about throwing in the towel and doing something else. She told me that her original plan before the break had been to close her practice next spring and move on to other things. Now she’s thinking about closing it up at the end of the year.
We talked some more about her future plans before I left her office and went about my business.
As I was walking through the city I projected myself into a future some 30 years from now. What happens when I reach that point in my own life? Would I be ready to just walk away from something that I’d spent more than half my life building up?
I mean, it kind of happens to everyone. But is there a way to counteract that?
What if instead of just stopping abruptly, we start slowing down gradually.
Perhaps by making a segue into another field or stage of life we don’t have to deal with the “OK, so what do I do now?”-questions that it seems most people face at the age of retirement.
Most of the people I interact with are between 18 and 45. Only rarely do I get to interact with people over 60 who aren’t family or friend’s parents.
I don’t know if I’m imagining it, but when I was a kid it wasn’t that uncommon for people from vastly different generations to interact. Granted, a 21-year-old and 62-year-old didn’t necessarily go out and have a beer, but it feels like there was more cross-generational interaction overall.
Maybe there still is in the world at large, but it’s just not as common in bigger cities as I’d like to remember during the late 80’s and early 90's.
I think I should start talking to older people more often. I feel like there’s a tremendous amount of life experience and knowledge that I don’t want to miss out on.