This is the time of year that I go through my things for items I don't need and then donate them to the local charities such as Goodwill. But this year I'm doing something different in that I'm going through some items I stored away as "keepsake items". I collected and kept them because at the time, I thought these were important as they represented things that I did or accomplished throughout my business career. I was surprised as to how many 'trinkets' I kept from company conferences, task force participation, and incentive awards. They were important at the time when I was working and maybe a great item for display in my office at work, but they all seem so meaningless now that I am retired. In fact, there are some items that I don't even remember how or why I got them. For example, I got this beautiful desk clock with the engraving SNET - darn if I remember what that was all about. These are likely going to the round file.
|small sample of items and awards|
The photos were nice as they showed how much younger I looked and how things have changed. Yep, we all wore business suits in those days - every day too. It made me wonder what happened to my old colleagues and if they remembered the time in which we worked together. If anything, these tokens trigger memories - some good, some not so good as images of tight deadlines and long hours under pressure flash by when I see them.
|Some Corporate Trinkets for service..|
Then there was the token jewelry. Ten year pocket knife, service rings for 20 and 25 years, watches, and at retirement, I had kept my company ID card with a hole punched in the middle. I think I will keep these.
Its appropriate to go through these now as it was exactly 16 years ago that I retired early. I continued to work as a consultant for three more years for another company under a former boss from the same company who also took the early retirement package. In retrospect, it was the best thing I ever did. After retirement, I remember very distinctly that I told myself that I would not have to ever get up for a commute or meet another company or project deadline again. It was such a strange but liberating feeling that I remember it as clear as if it was yesterday. I also believe strongly that my early retirement gave me an extended length and quality of life over staying at the company for a few years more.
So today, as I clean up and wander through memories of corporate life, I am also extremely grateful of what has transpired since and my fortunate move to the land of smiles. Its a new chapter in my life and for now, it has more meaning and substance. Most likely, its the discovery and understanding of what truly makes one happy and life significant..and its definitely not a corporate business career. It was a means to an end...but once achieved..its worth it to be away from it all.
Looking forward to turning some new pages in the next chapter of life in 2017!