Opening the door to retirement can feel a lot like opening the door on your first day of school. You wonder how your day will look, who you’ll meet, and if the snacks are any good. These days you probably have more snack time options, but retirement can still hold a wide-eyed mystique. So, we met three retirees through Leadership Louisville Center’s Encore program, who revealed their retirement secrets that have led to a renewed sense of purpose.
Here is one to tell his story…
Find the Greatest Reasons to Get Up in the Morning
Before Chris Hermann retired, he decided he would find the greatest and best reasons to get up in the morning. “I wasn’t going to be someone who sat around,” Chris begins, “I was going to find things to do that energized me or took advantage of my skills.” So, Chris envisioned a retirement plan that would keep him busy and interacting with people. Chris says initially he didn’t know how this would come about, but it was this mindset that guided him.
For Chris, the catalyst for saying goodbye to a career in the utility industry was spending time with his baby grandson. “I didn’t want to miss any of that. I just wanted to be a part of his life,” he says. Chris retired at 66 years old and is now the proud grandfather to two grandsons. He loves to cook meals for his grandkids who are 7 and 9 years old and even tackles household projects for his daughter. “I offer to help if there’s a project that needs to be done, and we’ll have family time at the same time,” he reveals.
You have this lifelong set of experiences that you can use to help someone.”– Chris Hermann
Chris is staying true to his retirement plan by keeping a packed schedule. He’s very active in his church community operating an emergency food pantry while also serving on the church governance council. He says those activities occupy a great deal of time, but Chris doesn’t stop there. As a mechanical engineer, Chris works closely with his alma mater, the University of Louisville, on their board of advisors assisting with engineering education and development needs. Then he still finds time to provide knowledge and expertise to community organizations like Metro United Way and the Leadership Louisville Center’s Encore program.
“There’s a lot of great things that can happen in your retirement because you have this lifelong set of experiences that you can use to help someone,” Chris says.
By Tonilyn Hornung | Photos by Erika Doll