When a Super-Early Retiree Searches for Serenity
About six weeks ago, I officially left my 21-year career in financial services to head into "retirement."
My career began on Wall Street, and then I had the extraordinary opportunity to work overseas alongside a Nobel Prize Winner in Economics.
Towards the end of my employment in Corporate America, I lost the passion for my vocation due to a number of factors, which I will not delve into in this article, except to say that some causes may have been my fault and others are likely to have been related to my specific work situation.
When I made the difficult decision to leave a company I loved, friends with whom I worked and a generous paycheck, I knew that I needed to find life activities so that my mind would not continue to wander back to the disappointment of my career's abrupt end.
My mental, physical and spiritual health depended on it.
At first, I audited free, online courses from Coursera, the online education company. As part of a semester-long philosophy course taught by Professor Michael S. Roth, President of Wesleyan University, I wrote essays for the class every other week.
Not only was I learning and exploring an unused-for-25-years part of my brain, but also I found myself invigorated by writing.
Inspired by the essays written for the course, I decided that I would launch a blog (www.socialmusingsbyaustin.com) and begin writing a memoir.
My logic for re-imagining my career as a writer was the following:
I needed something to do in “retirement”
I wanted more meaning in my life, and I thought others may benefit from hearing my story and be inspired to make important life changes of their own
I used to enjoy being a Creator back in high school
I can be a digital nomad and work from anywhere
It would be nice to make some additional income
Check yes for the first four bullets.
Recently, I have been exploring the final bullet, and I had a philosophical and humbling moment doing so.
In my finance career, I accumulated over twenty years of experience, contacts and accomplishments, which actually made my job easier as time went on.
Looking back now, I marvel at how magically well my career went for its first two decades. Sure, I put in the work to earn my success - 120 hour work weeks on Wall Street, traveling the globe to launch new products and ultimately becoming a manager of institutional sales teams for ten years. Yet, usually when I put my mind to something, it would more than likely happen.
Due to the fact that rapid career progression came so easily to me in financial services, I took my career achievement for granted.
As an entrepreneur now, I realize that I am probably less adapted to the 2021 business world than recent university graduates. When I cut my teeth in investment banking early in my career, I never learned website development, social media marketing or e-commerce technology. I was too busy building Excel financial models which were used in securities transactions which ended up in the pages of The Wall Street Journal.
Now in my second career, one in which I can choose to do anything, I currently toil away for a modest modicum of acknowledgment. Sometimes, I frustratingly struggle through difficult tasks which are truly novel to me for much-needed personal wins. It is only due to the passion for what I am doing and the hope that my story will help others courageously attempt to improve their lives that I can continue.
I am deeply honored to finally be published as a writer by a leading media outlet such as The Nevada Independent, which last week included my article "The Story of My 9/11" in their September 11th 20th Anniversary compilation last weekend. You can find that article here: https://thenevadaindependent.com/article/the-story-of-my-9-11
Furthermore, my original music that frequently accompanies my stories has tens of thousands of views on social media.
Yet, I am not satisfied. I know I have more to give to the world.
When the self-doubt creeps in, I tell myself to keep working hard and to never take for granted anything positive in my life ever again. When I am so upset that I won't even listen to my own advice, I call a friend or family member for moral support. Then I push ahead.
Thus, I continue to work on My Patience. My Expectations. My Mindset.
Stay Tuned, and I hope we can take this journey together.
To Be Continued...