45 is way too young to “retire”. After 22 years in the military and 5 years as a private sector COO, I stopped. I took the summer, then the fall, and found out a life lesson. No one is waiting for me. What a strange feeling to get up in the morning and not be required anywhere. So much time spent looking forward to retirement without actually defining in my mind what that would look like. Like most people, I thought travel, hobbies, renovations but these are activities that are often exciting for 2 or 3 week intervals. In between what you normally do to feel valued. Let’s get the first point out of the way, your family is the most important thing to you but then what? Will your friends be at the same point as you at the same time? Ready to travel?

My conclusion for myself is that retirement is a succinct term meaning “time to do something else”. Start a new business, be a barrista at a coffee shop, teach something, go back to school for something you want to do/be/experience. But keep doing and maintain your involvement in society.

It’s easy to recede and drift away into the distance but that’s not living. I am thankful to have learned this lesson early.