One of my favorite words is renaissance: a renewal of life, vigor and interest; a rebirth. This is what spring brings to mind for me.

You hear people talk about “spring cleaning.” Why does spring bring about a scurry of cleaning behaviors: gardening, closets, minds? I don’t know but I’m wholly there. I look at my yard and gardens and realize they too want to have more vigor now that the sun’s around longer, the warm air envelops our hearts and souls and the earth is thawing.I also look in the mirror and wonder about my personal renaissance.

Some of my friends are looking at re-defining themselves; looking for a different path for their second, third or fifteen career. I guess I am too. One friend is now in hospitality customer service, a switch from graphic design. Another friend is going into teaching after years as a lobbyist. Do you know of friends or family who have made a change – some more dramatic than others – in their careers as they get older?

What is it that takes its toll on us that we want or need to make that change, to bring about a renaissance of our lives? Maybe you’re set in your career, happy with all its possibilities and looking forward to retirement and “easy street”: I applaud you. Others, like me, think of retirement as a fantasy world that Disney’s coming out with on film “soon.” As a Baby Boomer, my mid-60s are really mid-40s in mind, body and spirit. (For the most part.) I was talking to my nephew yesterday and we talked about my parents at my age and realized the vast difference in not only life-style, but also mind-set. We’re more vital and more vibrant than our parents ever thought of being.

So, spring brings about this renaissance of cleaning: cleaning out our mental cobwebs and physical dust bunnies, as well as leaves and winter residue in the gardens and yards.

I don’t know what my re-definition will be, and yet, I know that to keep vital, vibrant and vested in my future mentally and physically, retirement isn’t in the forecast. When I get down to it, maybe writing – doesn’t take as much physical, but more mental energy – will be my renaissance. It’s fun as well as challenging to consider possibilities; it’s also scary. The unknown is as exciting as it is frightening, and as one who’s crossed three or four frightening bridges in my day, I guess I’ll keep crossing the ones to come…won’t you?

Join me in the spring cleaning and renaissance of us, in digging out the mental snow banks, of shoveling off the old and planting the new, whatever that may be. We have the capabilities to design our “older” years and it’ll take some planning to figure out what that design will look like. Are you ready for the challenge? Are you set in today and content to rest? You may be in your 30’s or 40’s and think so, and I imagine that you’ll feel some sort of challenge as you get to be mid-50’s and 60’s and beyond.

Happy spring.


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