In the movie Mr. Holland’s Opus, Richard Dreyfuss had been a band teacher for some 30-35 years in the same band room at the same high school. The movie has him being downsized after a long career. On his last day he was cleaning out all his personal effects and putting it all in boxes. After all the boxes had been packed and carried to the car he is leaving his band room for the last time. It shows him walking to the door and reaching to turn off the light and he pauses and looks back at the band room with what I call the “last look.” He is remembering all the times and all the memories of his life that were captured in that room. It is that last look that I want to talk about.
When I think of retiring, its scares me. I mean it really scares me. The idea that one day I will have aged beyond being effective is an idea that is very humbling. We all know that day is coming and there isn’t any way to go around it. One day it will be that day. I have watched many older folks in my line of work force themselves to stay longer than they are effective and I refuse to be one of those people.
This last week I was going into a presentation in Dallas and had some time before the meeting began so I was sitting there drinking some coffee and thinking about these things. All the people in the office were early 20’s to late 30’s. As I watched them all go about their work I knew that one day, it won’t be me in that meeting. It will be the generation behind mine.
A smart young lady (my daughter) once told me that before you retire from the main thing, you need to have already started the next thing. She said don’t wait till you leave one phase to begin the next phase. Pretty smart right?
A few weeks ago we sold our lake house that we have owned for 13 years. We bought the house when my oldest daughter (now 32) was a freshman in college and our youngest daughter (now 28) was still in high school. There were many many lake trips, dinners, fireside chats, events and even a few hammerhead boys my daughters brought to the lake. All those events formed our memories at that house. All those memories are precious to me as I look at the pictures that captured the moments through the years. When we sold the house and moved all the stuff out, I did one “last look” at the inside of the house where we have all good memories.
So what am I saying here? Don’t wait till the “Last Look” to start on the next venture of your life because it will keep you alive, alert, fresh and full of hope for the future. KT