Posted on May 26, 2011

What makes a person decide to retire?

This week a dear friend of mine at the office, a lady about 80, decided to retire….I remember when I met Pat for the first time when I joined Coldwell Banker back in 1986…She was then, about the same age that I am now…Where did those 25 years go? And am I still going to be doing this 25 years from now?

I watched the Oprah finale yesterday–I can’t believe Oprah has been on TV for 25 years…This morning I decided to stay home and watch it again. Here in the quiet of my peaceful home, it was like listening to a great sermon…the kind of sermon that you could sit through for hours, that moves you to tears, and makes you feel the holy spirit…and like so many times over the years, Oprah was talking right to me…straight to my heart…my soul soaked up her words…and i began to think about who I am, what I do, and what is my calling…Over the years I’ve grown along with Oprah–and as many of you know, I could rival her many hairstyles and poor fashion statements…She and I share similar philosophies about life, and love, and God…and she has caused me more times of inner reflection than most of the people in my life that I’ve known intimately.

Today I needed to hear her message–her simple explanation of ‘a calling’ prompted me to write this blog post rather than to simply record my feelings in my journal…

There are times, after selling real estate for 30+ years that I ask myself, “Is this my true calling?” At times I wonder, ‘is this industry changing so quickly that I cannot continue to keep up with the technology, the marketing, the consumer expectations?’…It is especially at this time of year, after a busy season, when I look back at both our successes and our failures of the past 150 days; the long hours, the seminars & classes, the committee meetings, the ad proofs, the open houses, the paperwork, the deadlines, the leaky roofs, the mold reports, the interruptions at the office, or the contracts that fall apart…yes, this is when i am a bit weary…this is when I ask myself, ‘is this my calling?’ ~and then all of a sudden, someone like Pat says her good-byes, and 25 years of memories come crashing through…and it is so funny that you don’t remember the names of the inspectors that gave you trouble, or which house had termites and which mortgage didn’t get approved…In this moment I reminisce about the fun we’ve had, the holiday parties, the real estate conventions…OK, here it comes, my ‘Aha moment’: I think about the lives I’ve touched…the people I’ve met…the relationships I’ve made and kept…My calling? Yes, this is my calling…I don’t sell bricks and mortar, I help families find homes…I make a difference in people’s lives…just like Oprah, just not on as great a scale…

So, what makes a person decide to retire? For each of us it is, or will be a different answer…For some it is the magic number of an age, or the number of years you’ve been with a company…for some it is the fast pace of an industry changing more quickly than they can keep up with, for others it is the desire to give back…the time to volunteer and serve in a different capacity, for some it is the idea of taking life easy and traveling, and for others still a need to care for a spouse, or to move closer to children…All I know is this: As long as I still feel like I am making a difference in people’s lives, I will sell real estate. As long as people like Pat, (not just the Oprahs of the world) touch my heart, I will know that I am indeed, living my calling.

Thanks, and make it a great day,

The Naples Real Estate Blogger