This week I learnt a new skill. It was how to make cardboard boxes from archival acid-free cardboard sheets. As a very unhandy man I thought it was quite an achievement. I'll never make any money out of it and it will not change the course of western civilisation but I enjoyed doing it. This new skill was acquired at the one day a week I spend volunteering at the local town museum. Escaping my profession a few years ago means I can choose to spend a day a week pursuing an interest in my own community, purely for enjoyment and without any thought of financial reward. Making cardboard boxes instead of stressing over legal problems is very liberating.
It seems that choosing what are called 'encore' careers are now very much the thing. Like the encore at a concert where the performance ends with something a bit lighter and brighter than the rest of the program, the encore career is one that is a bit easier and more enjoyable than the major career you worked in for most of your working life. It should be less stressful. You choose something that has always interested you and if it in someway helps you give something back to your community at the same time then that is a bonus to enjoy. You will not work the same long hours and the financial returns will be much less, but if you plan for it in advance and take time to order your life and work out what is really important for living healthily and happily - it will be a joyous success. You will finish your working life on a positive high, instead of wearily staggering into a poor-health afflicted retirement.
Choose your encore career carefully and you will never retire in the usual sense of the word. Your work, play and interests, will simply coalesce. Encore anyone?