I Used to Be Somebody: (Un)Retirement Lessons Learned

Bring on the Nostalgia

Carl Landau | August 11, 2020

Am I the only one feeling really nostalgic these days? 


Since the beginning April I haven’t had a "real" job. First time in 32 years! So with some extra free time and the pandemic, I've been forced to slow down a bit and I can't help thinking back on my past. Have you felt the same way lately? 


I just listened to a short Hidden Brain podcast episode called The Time Machine, all about the feeling of nostalgia. You'd think reflecting on your past would be depressing. It's not! Research shows that “nostalgia-thinking” actually makes people more optimistic about the future. It reaffirms our social connections and our place in the world. And by remembering important details about your past, you can then lay out a vision for the future.


So I've been connecting with a bunch of people from my past. It's been easy to find some folks, harder to find others, and fun all the way around. I've probably reached out to about 20 old friends and had some great conversations.


I grew up in Cleveland, OH in the east side suburb of Shaker Heights. My best friend from age 5 to 14 was Bobby Brown. (Bobby goes by Bob now.) He retired about 4 years ago from a very successful career in the mortgage finance industry. He insists he was one of the good guys in the business. (And I believe him.) He's got a really cool volunteer gig with the Rock-n-roll Hall of Fame and still plays in a band.


After 30+ years, I also reconnected with Debby McColloch, (she goes by Deborah now) who lives in Philadelphia. She was a big time boss for the City's Office of Housing and pretty much a professional "do-gooder". Back in the day, we worked together as counselors at a local Shaker day camp -- the most fun job I've ever had in my life!. She was a few years older than me and taught me a little bit how the adult world operated. I was about 17 when we started working together. That was the last time I think in my life that I had absolutely no responsibilities! 


Debby and I reminisced about watching the Indians and Yankees baseball game on our Nation's Bi-Centennial (Does anyone remember the annoying Bi-Centennial Minute messages?) and seeing an Elton John and Kiki Dee concert. 


She also told me how huge and unexpected the adjustment to retirement was for her and how it felt to go from being the big boss to all of a sudden no one caring about your opinion any more. That discussion gave me a bunch of pointers on how to make this transition easier. 


I really encourage everyone to reach out this week to someone who made a big impact on you in your younger life. It really is a great feeling and gives hope for the future!

Tags:    the carl diary   nostalgia   reunion   retirement   unretirement