On Becoming a Teenager Again

Jim Coates BMW GS

Jim Coote wants to become a teenager again. After 33 years with an oil company in Northern Alberta, going from firefighter/EMT to management, he is planning to retire in a year or two, and move to the Calgary area. He knows the secret. Find some buddies and find a purpose, something to do, some reason to live, something that let’s you be a teenager again.

I met Jim in a Starbucks. He had just taken delivery of his bike – a BMW GS 800 that looked so new it was hard to believe its first owner had taken it to Alaska already. He was beaming.

After telling me his story he asked mine. I told him that despite all the years of preparation, retirement proved to be a challenge for me. After 40 years in law practice, I went from multiple daily interactions with wonderful clients, to…silence. Overnight. No more crush of emails. No long line of clients waiting for me to meet them or return their calls. Empty calendar. Silence.

After 3 months, I was ready to take the Oregon Bar and start all over again in Portland. Fortunately, at about that time I had lunch with my clinical psychologist friend, Irene. She looked me right in the eye and said, “OK Ken what’s going on?” She helped me realize what should have been obvious to me but wasn’t. I didn’t just retire – my whole life changed. We moved from central California to Portland, we left a sprawling ranch house on 15 acres for a 19th story condo, and we left a life-long network of friends, family, and community we had built up over 50 years. Just realizing that helped enormously, and things improved from that point on. I got involved with some non-profits, became intentional about meeting new friends, and re-dedicated myself to a long-held passion for photography and writing. I now feel like a teenager again.

For Jim, becoming a teenager means expanding his social network and finding common interests to indulge with his buddies. For me, it’s traveling, writing and photography, and meeting new people along the way.

What would it mean for you to become a teenager again?

2 thoughts on “On Becoming a Teenager Again

  1. Well said, Ken. Glad to see you are adjusting to retirement and filling your time with interests that had to take a back seat during your career as an attorney. Like you, the interests I’ve pursued since retirement include writing and photography. I’m also mentoring a couple of precious women, and traveling with my hubby. Grateful for a change in season!

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