So how DO you retire from a career that has been rewarding?

Retirement can be a scary word to some. But it’s a word that has taken on a real and personal meaning to me. How DO you retire from a career that has been rewarding, dynamic, challenging and enjoyable — and provided a great job?  I went in search of some answers.

The definition of retirement is: withdrawal from one’s position or occupation or from active working life.

Well this is an interesting definition, but I am really having trouble with the part about the “withdrawal from an active working life.”  This message seems counter to all the guidance about how important it is as we age to stay active and engaged in life in a meaningful way.

Next I turned to some internet sources, seeking “Retirement Quotes for Women.” There are so many more quotes written by men, but many don’t reflect on the work they’ve done, but rather speak about time, watches, no more traffic, going fishing or doing nothing.

I found a few remarks, attributed to Catherine Pulsifer at, that were more interesting:

I like her final thought. For me retirement means a new beginning and the opportunity to continue to apply the many skills and experiences I have learned through working with a great staff at the North Carolina Community Foundation. I will use my experience to continue to help others; to continue to give back to my community; and to take time to develop new skills and enjoy reconnecting with a variety of hobbies and interests in a more relaxed and balanced way. (Has anyone noticed how the weeds have grown faster than the vegetables this summer?)

I have learned so much from the many wonderful volunteers I have been privileged to get to know in the counties I have served. They have inspired me with their passion for their communities and willingness to give of their time, many talents and yes, their treasures as well. We have shared many joyful times together and some tough times as well, and I will miss their often spirited discussions.

One of the first quotes I came across after joining the staff at NCCF has come back to me many times and is worth repeating here: “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.” (Winston Churchill)

I am grateful for the opportunities I have had working with our staff and on behalf of the North Carolina Community Foundation. So with some sadness that comes from closing this chapter in my life comes opportunity to open new possibilities going forward — and the time to create a next chapter.


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