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 her story…
When Ginger Wallace retired, there were elements she needed to make the transition go smoothly, and one was moving home. “I grew up in Western Kentucky,” Ginger begins, “I wanted to come back to Kentucky because this is home for me as a state, and I’m back, which is what I always wanted.” Planting roots back home supports Ginger in meeting her retirement expectations — which is to serve in her local community.
After a successful 30-year career in the Air Force, and retiring as a colonel, Ginger is following her passions and one way she’s accomplishing this is by doing nonprofit work. Ginger holds a part-time job with a nonprofit which also allows her time to volunteer with organizations and causes that interest her. Programs like Encore and serving as an advisory member on Louisville Metro Councilwoman Cassie Chambers Armstrong’s District 8 Advisory Council are two ways she invests her time. Ginger says she’s feeling lucky in her retirement because she’s able to participate in projects that inspire her.
Getting involved in the community is a different type of leadership.”– Ginger Wallace
For Ginger, stepping into retirement was bittersweet. She loved her time in the Air Force and has missed the camaraderie she shared with her co-workers. Ginger believes the hardest part of retiring was learning how to translate the life experience she acquired in the military into different areas. “Getting involved in the community is a different type of leadership,” Ginger says. Once she came to understand the balance required, she says, “I’ve been almost five years retired, and I’m very much enjoying what I’m doing now.” Ginger and her wife love traveling and are planning trips for their future, but while at home they’re enjoying taking care of the newest addition to their family: their beloved dog. Ginger does have a tip for that immediate time between waving goodbye to your workday and saying hello to your free time — and it’s taking a little break. “Take some time off and some downtime! You’ve earned it,” she encourages.
By Tonilyn Hornung | Photos by Erika Doll
P.S. Read more on having a plan with a purpose in retirement. Chris is finding great reasons to get up in the morning, and our Publisher, Cathy Zion, is in her great transition from full-time work.