I’m in my “Zen” mode today as I sporadically check weather reports on Hurricane Irma’s progress and focus more and more on a week from now when we move lock-stock-and-barrel to Tampa, Florida, to start our new lives as official retirees.
Part of me really doesn’t want to do this. I’ve been hauling around a ton of preconceptions about “retirees” for ages, and I have absolutely no intention of becoming one of those.
On the other hand, though, I’m incredibly excited about this new adventure. New home. New hometown. New way of going about my day. I absolutely love new things, and this phase of my life is bringing a gazillion new things!
This is something I have always tried to pass on to my students at Curry College, Regis College, and several other colleges in the Boston area where I’ve spent some time trying to “spread the word” about the profession that has consumed my entire adult life…public relations.
- Be open to new ideas.
- Be open to new ways of doing things.
- Be open to new opportunities regardless of where they might take you.
You never know what lies just around the corner, and you won’t find out unless you step out of your warm, fuzzy comfort zone and “dive in the deep end.”
For me, it started in 1968 when, in Air Force basic training, while some of my colleagues were vying for assignments at bases around the U.S., I interviewed and was accepted for a new venture the Department of Defense was launching…teaching English in Vietnam.
End result? A sort of indirect introduction to a career in the Air Force (active-duty military), Army (civil service), and private sector (whole bunch of places) as a public relations professional.
I also met and subsequently married my wife of now-45 years, Margaret, so BONUS!!
Then, later in my private sector life in PR, I was “involuntarily separated” (aka: “fired”) from a position that I didn’t “love” but paid the bills.
Coincidentally, a friend called to ask if I had an interest in teaching. As far as I was concerned, I was totally unqualified to teach young men and women the ABCs of public relations as a profession. I don’t have a PR degree…only took one PR course as an elective for my second undergraduate degree. But I did have close to 20 years’ professional experience in public relations and have (patting myself enthusiastically on the back) orchestrated some pretty awesome PR programs and activities for various employers.
After babbling like the idiot I’m so incredibly capable of being from time-to-time, I wound up in the classroom teaching, first, graduate Communication students and, later, undergrads at several colleges in and around Boston.
Absolutely LOVED it! And still DO! But…
Had I not taken my friend up on her offer to get me in the door at the college where she was teaching, though…who knows? I don’t spend a lot of time doing “what if?” exercises, so I don’t have an answer.
So flash forward to 2017 and my current state of affairs.
We could have stayed here in Massachusetts. Margaret absolutely hates, hates, hates New England winters, but we’ve put up with them for close to 40 years. And I have a very solid network of professional colleagues up here who I would miss terribly if we were to move.
But the old, now-familiar “itch” led us to look at Florida and, in spite of my own misgivings, we have found a new “home” that promises to offer a whole laundry-list of new adventures, opportunities…and challenges, of course.
So that’s it for now, my friends. I’m nearing the end of what truly has been an amazing life as an actively-practicing PR professional and, now, PR professor.
And I am rounding the corner to head for the beginning of an amazing new life. What lies ahead? I have no clue. But I am so very excited, and I promise to keep you posted!
Ciao for now!