When I speak with lawyers who are nearing retirement, I often ask them how they feel about it. The responses are obviously mixed, but I’ve noticed that the lawyers who are excited about it have often spent time engaging in hobbies outside of law in the years leading up to retirement. They spent time traveling, learning to paint or play instruments, cooking, gardening, biking, spending time with family, etc. To them, retirement is an opportunity to explore new passions that they were not able to focus on while working full-time.
On the other hand, I will never forget when I spoke with a lawyer who was one year from retirement (after practicing for 40 years) and said he was terrified to retire because he had never before had free time. What would he do each day? Where would he go? I asked him about his interests, but he struggled to come up with many outside of being a lawyer. We started brainstorming and discussed that over the next year, he could begin trying new things little by little to see what he enjoyed (I offered some of the above examples). Regardless of what he finds, we agreed the important thing is that he start setting aside little bits of free time now to explore new hobbies before retirement so that free time doesn’t seem as daunting.
Discovering hobbies and passions outside of being a lawyer is certainly important in the years leading up to retirement, but it’s even more important early on in our careers so that we don’t get burned out. I encourage you to think about what your interests are apart from work and how often you get to pursue them. Even if it’s not often, it’s important to know what they are so that when you get to retirement (or a job change that results in more free time) you know what you’re interested in and how you can enjoy your free time beyond practicing law.
Inhale through your nose for four counts and exhale out your mouth for eight counts. When you feel stressed, come back to your breath.
I wear fun socks each day, and now I'm known as the "fun sock lady" at my gym!
- Anne H. (Virginia)
I go to the gym before the sun is up and lately I have been walking there without my headphones in to enjoy the quiet peacefulness of the city before everyone wakes up. It’s sort of a meditative way to begin the day instead of constantly having pods/music/radio in my ear.
- Andrew C. (Pennsylvania)
Our firm has appointed me as “minister of culture” and my job is to always look to boost morale with work events, happy hours, fun sports pools and contests, and ensure we all take moments out of our days/weeks/months to enjoy our time together as co-workers and friends. - Tony C. (Virginia)
Be grateful for all you have to be grateful! - Kevin D. (Iowa)
I try to get outside for a walk every day, either with my dog or by myself! - Lori B. (Ohio)
I take mini-breaks throughout the day to play pieces I enjoy on my piano!
– Alice S. (Minnesota)
I always try to project positive energy to those around me regardless of the day I’m having. I’d rather project positivity than bring others down with negativity.
- Bill O. (Illinois)
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