I know I’ve spent quite a bit of time on the subject of retirement lately, but let’s face it, that’s where my mind is at right now. As I talk about the subject, no one is as inundated with my reflections as my wife is. Sometimes I wonder if she is listening, but I don’t usually ask, I just appreciate her patience and her presence as I go through this transition process. But yesterday she showed me that she is processing this journey right along with me. I was doing some work in my new office and she called. Usually her calls are related to family scheduling issues, communicating plans, organizing to do lists and just checking in to chat. But this call was different.
She was doing her assigned reading for her book club and she read a line that she wanted me to hear. The book is “for one day more” by Mitch Albom, the “Tuesdays with Morrie” guy.
I haven’t read the book yet and don’t want to go into the story, but what I want to share is a short passage. The main character of the book tells the following story”
I met a man once who did a lot of mountain climbing. I asked him which was harder, ascending or descending? He said without a doubt descending, because ascending you were so focused on reaching the top, you avoided mistakes.
“The backside of a mountain is a fight against human nature,” he said. “You have to care about yourself on the way down as you did on the way up.”
Well, I’ve spent the past 25 years climbing the mountain of a law enforcement career. I’ve spent quite a bit of time planning my leaving, my descent, but that time is measured in months as opposed to the years I spent climbing. I guess I walked up the mountain and I ran down it. Not a great plan, but I guess it is better than just jumping off and crashing at the bottom.
To all of you out there on the job, give some thought to this analogy and think about how you are going to get off the mountain….and it is a big mountain….with a great view!