My Class Reunion: What I Learned About Enjoying Life

Have you ever been to your class reunion? I recently attended one of those- enough decades past that people are more real with their journey of life. Hell, they actually have experienced some life.

After listening to story after story of people’s experiences since high school. I concluded people fell into three categories.

Group 1- They disliked their job and were enduring until retirement or they were preparing to retire early.

Group 2- They started in one job after high school or college and found themselves in completely different professions today. A few were wanting to make career changes at this time. Close to the finish line- they want to keep working just not doing what they are doing.

Group 3- Those who loved what they were doing and retirement is not on their radar. This sadly was a small group and people were generally self-employed.

Why the difference between the groups? Mitch Anthony in his article titled “Locating Your Core” reflects on three areas that impact your satisfaction with your job.

Essence – What matters most to you? Who are you at the core? What excuses are you making for not honoring your essence?

Environment – Is my essence allowed to flourish here? Am I growing toward what I want to be? “Am I challenged in positive ways?”

Income – Do I feel fairly compensated for the value I bring? What is my paycheck costing me (in terms of life quality)? Has the money become a tether to misery?

People in Group 1 of my high school reunion found themselves in positions that didn’t match their essence. They weren’t doing something they were passionate about. Often, they were in secure positions or jobs that paid well. A few had military careers that has limited choices –some fared better than others in the military.

People in Group 2 made choices along the way – some significant shifts others only minor. One woman left architecture, went back to school and pursued a physician’s assistant position. Not really a complete shift, she started as pre-med but had a professor who discouraged her. She had lots of medical books on her shelf before she went back to school. She is content in her job now.

Career shifts aren’t always easy to make. You want to be moving towards a goal- not running from your job. A career coach can help you make this shift. (Check out Stacey Harshman’s website I teach a class with her.)

One engineer had a miserable experience as a manager at a large corporation. That company burned through that position every few years. When he began a position at another company, he fell in love with his career again. Looking forward to the work week not experiencing the Sunday Evening Blues.

Those in Group 3 didn’t see a lot of shifts along the way. They started on a career path that took a few bends and turns, yet continued to grow and expand their opportunities. Their jobs were fulfilling and retirement wasn’t a consideration. A few of us thought we would evaluate retirement at 70.

One classmate had worked a good paying job in a narrow niche. When his job was eliminated, he floundered a few years to find a new career. He surprised himself and his family taking a position working with developmentally disabled adults. He has found it to be rewarding and challenging. Each day is a new experience- never a dull moment. Fortunately, his financial future was secure so he could take this position.

Sometimes you need to evaluate supporting your current lifestyle or make adjustments to allow a career change.

Mitch Anthony reflects, “Wise lifestyle decision making starts on the inside and works to the outside.”

One activity at the class reunion was what advice would you give your 18-year-old self.

My words of wisdom “Be TRUE to yourself.”




Similar Blog Posts:

Don’t Just Work for Money, Work for Meaning

Financial Resolutions


More Posts

Your HSA and Retirement

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are rapidly growing in both size and numbers.  These accounts offer deductible contributions and tax-free distributions for qualified medical expenses.  An

More To Explore