Many people have hidden talents that only they know about or, in some cases, discover in later life. Retirement is a great time to explore those hidden passions and dreams that you may have held close to your heart at some point in your life. How many people have a secret dream that they never pursue? You should leave this life with no avenue unexplored and no song unsung. That would be a tragedy. If you feel you might have a hidden talent or passion, don’t let anyone talk you out of pursuing it. Not in this day and age, not with all the resources that are out there to help you along the way.
One of my favorite activities all my life has been writing. In college a professor took me aside and echoed the advice of two different English teachers in high school: find a way to develop your writing further. They saw something in me that aligned perfectly with a desire that I had but, sadly, I wasn’t bold enough to pursue the dream. I found myself quickly engulfed in the rat race they call Corporate America and climbing the ladder of success one troublesome rung at a time. I have no one to blame but myself for not pursuing my dream but everything worked out for the best. I was successful and was able to retire to a dream house in a location that is as perfect as you can imagine. I did it with the support of the wonderful woman I married and have two children who have pursued their dreams, unlike their father, so all is right with the world.
And I’m busy acting on the same advice I’m giving you: to pursue a dream no matter where you are in your life. Was my dream to have this website? No, but my dream involved writing and with this vehicle I am the chief writer and sole editor and, for possibly the first time, I look forward to sitting down at a desk and putting my thoughts down on paper. There are no deadlines and no one overruling my content. I love it – and, although some might question whether the quality of my writing reflects any talent at all, I can tell you it is very fulfilling and I would still write even you told me no one would ever read my words. I truly enjoy crafting my thoughts into semi-coherent articles.
That feeling can come not only from writing but anything artistic in nature. Music comes to mind first because our daughter lives to make music. She could not exist without it and she is pursuing her dream even as I write these words. The advice was always there for me to follow, work at what you love and you will never work a day in your life. But, for one reason or another, I didn’t do it. I take full responsibility for that, but I also became determined that my retirement would not follow anyone else’s path except for the one I created. I would re-live every dream and explore all the things I thought about doing but allowed work to take priority. Do you have anything that you had always wanted to do?
Take up writing, take up music. You can find help with these efforts very easily online. A friend of ours always wanted to play the ukulele. He’s doing it. My wife is starting piano lessons and someone else I know is reviving his love of magic. Do you want to learn how to sing better? There’s help for you as well. No hidden talent or desire should stay hidden forever.
The poet John Greenleaf Whittier wrote: “of all the words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these: it might have been.” Retirement is your time to get it right and make the Second Act as good as the first. Learn new things, explore unknown parts of the world and utilize all your hidden talent. You owe that to yourself.