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A Risk-free Way to Follow Your Dreams

Oct 27, 2013 | Uncategorized | 11 comments

What a great time to be in midlife.  For our parents, being over 40 meant that you could start polishing up that rocking chair. Not us! We’re living longer and are healthier than our parents, and the average life-span is getting longer all the time.

Still, although we’re having more fun, we’re also working longer.  For some, that may mean more years in jobs that make us miserable.  Some experts estimate that soon people won’t retire until their 70’s. Yikes! That seems like a long time to be at the “salt mines”.

Well, who wants to retire anyway? As a matter of fact, I believe one of the worse things you can do is to retire too early. First of all, we live a fuller life when we’re contributing to society, and some people get that through employment.  Second, if your retirement nest egg runs out you may be forced to go back to work- where you’ll be lucky to get a minimum wage job.

But whether you plan to retire soon or not, you improve your work life risk-free until you do. That’s by developing your dream job while you’re still working in your current one.

It’s a no-risk plan:  One benefit of staying in your current job is that you’re not risking your financial picture.  Don’t panic! You still have a paycheck.

You don’t need to have all the answers:  Chances are you know everything there is to know about your current job. But you won’t know everything about your dream and it might be scary. Don’t worry. It’s good for you to face your fears. You will be better for it.

Your current job will help you: What you learn about time management, communication, marketing, and technology in your current job can help you in your dream job.  Take advantage of anything offered that will help you.

You have the luxury of time:  Because you have that paycheck, you can take the time to build that business or prepare you to move to another industry or position.  This may be a marathon, not a sprint. Pace yourself.

It is okay to change directions when it makes sense: Part of following a dream is that we aren’t dealing with reality- yet. When we do- we may find that the dream job we’ve always thought we wanted isn’t all that we’d hoped.  That’s okay- you can change directions and start over.

So, you want to be a gourmet chef? A tour guide? A writer? Then it’s time to start working towards that-

Imagine your dream job:  Maybe you just have to “dream a little” to find out what would be interesting and engaging to do. If not, career counselors do this for a living. They are specialists in helping you find a direction.  If you like something less formal, talk to friends, or do some informational interviews with people who do exciting work.

Get organized: Think of your time as a precious commodity and spend it on what will truly make you happy. If you have trouble with time management, read a book or take lessons online.  Just remember, you can’t do everything and you have to be selective.

Don’t get frustrated: There will be times when you might feel you’re not making enough progress, and that might be frustrating. Most successful people are results-focused.  But, don’t let it get to you.  This is a big change, and if you “keep swimming” in the right direction you will be successful.

So, start thinking of something new you want to do, because there is a big beautiful world out there waiting for you- and you have the time!

I’d love to hear what your dream job would be and how you followed it.  Comment and sign up for the newsletter and please share this blog, my website, FB and TWTR links so that we can inspire and provoke the conversation.

Enjoy and Keep Rockin!




  1. Joel

    Thanks for the booster shot. It’s a long journey but I’m starting to enjoy it.

    • Virginia

      Joel you are the perfect proof point for this post. You are already uber-successful in your field. Successful people like to see results which sometimes makes for a tough journey. I am so glad to hear you’re starting to enjoy it! Thanks for the comment- V

  2. Dawn Biocca

    This is a good post. Alan will be retiring next year. He has been working at the same place for 35+ years. It is funny how when you are first married you can’t even imagine retirement. It is so far off. For us it has been not being to really wrap our head around the retirement that is just around the corner. You need to understand where you are in the food chain of work. Alan found out that his retirement package peaks at 60 which is why he is going out. Also I wanted to be able to travel while we are still healthy enough to do so. We are in a good place – except for a couple of bills to pay off – so I think it will be a good time. Alan has a business that he is looking at expanding and retirement will help with more time for that. Just another chapter in our lives and I know it will be good.

  3. Karen

    I have been mostly retired for 14 years and I’m not sure when I had time to work! With this phase of our lives comes the ability to travel, grandchildren, hobbies, and lots of goodness. But you are right, approach it as a new chapter in your life. 🙂

    • Virginia

      That’s wonderful- and I love it when someone really enjoys the reward that they worked so hard all their life for. It is funny how we ever found the time to work anyway- it means you’re filling your life with wonderful people and activities.

    • Virginia

      That’s great and a big undertaking. Good for you! I’ve thought of that too because I love writing, but the blogs seem like enough for me now. Wonderful direction, Virginia

  4. Sue

    Thanks for this encouraging and practical post on retiring. Husband may be ready in a year-and-a-half -Yipes. I continue to seek new ways to be successful everyday as a blogger for this reason and for myself. Had to share to twitter!

    • Virginia

      How wonderful that you’re approaching such a great time. Glad that you’re following your dream with your blogging- love Housekaboodle!

  5. Lisa @ Grandma's Briefs

    Because of the crazy 2008 economic mess, following my dream became a do-or-die situation. You do what you gotta do, but this post is such an inspiration who have the opportunity to pursue their dream while the safety net is still in place. Love it!

    • Virginia

      You’re so right Lisa, the economy has thrown us all. What happened to everyone being able to retire in their 50s like it was in the boom? Jeez…now it sounds so far off. You certainly are making good progress towards livin’ the dream everyday. Thanks


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