What would you like to be doing the day before you retire?

An image with a beach sunset
“Sunset” by Kiwi Tom is licensed under CC BY 2.0

I always struggled to imagine where I would like to be in the next 3, 5, maybe 10 years. After many tries, I stopped asking myself this question; it was not natural. I found it difficult to trace a path without knowing where I want to go, and this is how my journey to find the question that could help me trace that path started.

A couple of years ago, I was at a point in my career where I needed to chose if I should stay on my current job or move on to another company, so I did what I always do, I asked my wife, my closest friends, and mentors for advice. It is important to me to see myself through their eyes and listening to their suggestions; it has become my first step when making an important decision, but then it is still up to me to make the final call, and I had a hard time to connect all of that advice with what was the right decision to make.

I first thought that I needed to be at peace with the fact that there’s no right decision, that either option could be a good one, that something new always looks good, and that staying in my current job was comfortable and easy, but why would I pick one or the other?

I started thinking, from all the decisions that I have made so far, what was there that helped me make a choice and take that leap of faith? What was common to all of them is that there was always a pursue of a dream of what I wanted to become, I had a vision of who I wanted to be.

That same year was the first time that we got serious with my wife about retirement. We had many conversations about what we would do once we retired, so if I could dream of what I would like to be doing after I retire, why not dream of what I would like to be doing the day before I retire?

That dream has changed over the years, and I expect that it can change again. Right now, I see myself on that last day before I retire as part of a non-profit organization that helps make this world a better place through technology, I see myself leading their Product and Engineering team, and I would love that day to be able to look back and see all the people that I was able to help directly through mentoring and coaching and indirectly through the work done by the leaders I was able to influence and the work done in the companies I worked for.

With a clear vision of what I would like to be doing the day before I retire, the answer came fast, So I chose the job that I thought would get me one step closer to that dream, I did that again in November, and I will keep doing it until the day I retire.

So, even if you are not at a point where you are under pressure to make a big career decision, ask yourself, What would you like to be doing the day before you retire?