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ROTARY CLUB NEWS: Rotary member reflects on retirement

June 22, 2017
By CHANDLER RALPH , Lake Placid News

When I tendered my retirement date on July 1, 2015, for retirement on July 1, 2016, as the CEO of Adirondack Health, I wasn't really thinking about what to do after that date.

I vowed to give 100 percent until midnight on June 30, 2016, and, of course, started my final list of what I needed to accomplish before that date. When the day came, I was a bit startled as I hadn't really planned anything, which is not like me. I worked part time over the summer for the Adirondack Health Foundation with a hard disconnect date of Aug. 31, 2016. Now what?

So here are my four tips to flourish in retirement:

Article Photos

Retired Adirondack Health CEO Chandler Ralph poses with her motorcycle.
(Photo provided)

Get out of town. Who wants the ex-CEO hanging around? No one really. Leave town on a nice vacation/sabbatical and treat yourself to a new adventure to clear your mind for the next great journey. My husband and I took off on our motorcycle and traveled 8,500 miles to Utah, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Wyoming and all states in between. We were re-acquainted with our nation's spectacular national parks and completed visits to 10 of them. My new goal is to see all 59 of America's national parks. How's that for a new journey?

Don't be quick to commit. Leave yourself at least three months to do nothing but bask in your newfound leisure and to decompress. I know retirees who retire one day and the next day they slap the title "consultant" after their name and they are off to the races. Really? Enjoy sleeping in, reading the 10,000 books you have saved for this moment, catching your granddaughter's track meet, riding your bike on a cool spring day-soaking in the beauty of nature that God has created. You have earned it. RELAX!

Be selective. Folks will approach you with all the wonderful opportunities they have for you to contribute. I spoke with a woman two years ago who had just retired and she gave me some words of wisdom for retirement: Choose the organizations where you want to volunteer based on your passions. She chose three, and I chose four: animals, young women in leadership, women in Africa and community service. I volunteer on the boards of the Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation, the Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York, and my own foundation that supports surgery in Africa for women injured in child birth.

And the best organization for giving back to the community was the Rotary Club of Lake Placid. I have been a member of Rotary in various communities since 1992, but now I had more time to devote to volunteering with Rotary in Lake Placid, which provides unlimited opportunities to contribute to the community and I try and take advantage of every one I can.

Reach out: I have heard many retirees lament, "They never called me after I retired! I worked at that place ____ years (fill in the blank)!" Well, guess what? Life goes on, as it should. If you did a great job, there is no need for them to call you. It affirms that you did an excellent job of empowering those you worked with. Pat yourself on the back then move on. At the same time, after a respectable period of time, reach out yourself. People are busy and you need to make the effort. Dwell on the future and find humor in the past.

I hope these tips help. Retirement is a monumental transition, one we should all seize with great joy.

The Lake Placid Rotary Club meets every Thursday morning from 7:20 to 8:30 a.m. at the Courtyard by Marriott. All are welcome.



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