Connecting The Dots

Discussing the threads of my own passions which have culminated in my work as coach, mentor, presenter in my own business.


Mary Johnson - Wednesday, February 07, 2018


The other day a friend of mine made an interesting comment. "I'll be glad to turn 65 as then I don't have to go back to work. I can be retired." This is a friend who left the workforce 4 years ago in a combination of circumstances about government downsizing and her health. She but has felt the not-so-sublte  pressure of 'aren't you consulting? or here's a good job that fits your skillset.' Her declaring that 65 was now safe to say one is retired. There is a lot of jockeying and competition amongst colleagues and friends about who is still working and for how long. Then there are those that circumstance have favoured and have left the paid workforce sometime before 65. Even though choices and legislation have made working longer possible, it caught my attention that 65 was still a significant demarcation line in the sand. If not in terms of work vs retire, certainly as marker of our next stage of life.    

Going back to the 80's and 90's I remember the sparkly days of 'Freedom 55' being championed and desired. Watched a whole generation aspire, indeed take up the cause, of endless playtime. My folks sure wanted this but circumstances precluded them from leaving their jobs that early. That said they were 'outta Dodge' before age 65. The cache of saying you could retire sooner was a desirable thing.   

As my cohort has been facing this time the situation is now reversed. For those considering leaving the workforce before 65 I hear the inevitable "What will you do with your time? I couldn't just sit around!" Wow! conversation goes from a discussion to running defence about your choice. Boom, judgement passed that retirement means turning into a slacker. Working on and on carries a big badge of honour - proudly worn. I have several colleagues who profess to be somewhat or semi-retired. Then they take great pride in telling you the extensive hours and number of clients/ projects they have. The numbers don't add up to semi anything! Heck be thrilled you still like the game and indeed are thriving.  Don't couch it. You're still  working- period!  

My wander around this, is this. We have choice, maybe more choice than any other generation. People will chose what feels right for them and their journey. Be curious. Invite a sharing of how someone can to their choice. Applaud what they have come to. It would be a wonderful place not to feel as my friend does. That hitting a number - what ever the number, means get folks off your back. Surely we've earned the right to simply travel by our own lights!        

Surrounded by love and memories

Mary Johnson - Tuesday, December 19, 2017

For the past 40 years we have hosted a Sunday Christmas brunch called the 'Pink Gin Float Breakfast'. Yes we make pink gin floats (pink lemonade, gin and ice cream). A summer themed drink enjoyed in the opposite season! The brunch is an appreciation gesture to family and friends. After all these years people tell us they look forward to seeing folks they only see on this day as well as yummy food!

The day before is busy with getting the food and the house ready. Mid afternoon Saturday I put up my feet and surveyed my surroundings. As Christmas carols played in the background I could see the threads of many many Christmases pulled forward into this day. Cookie recipes from my Gran, my mom's holiday table cloth, a stocking from my childhood, ceramic decorations made by my Aunt and a friend at the time to celebrate my oldest son's first Christmas. My 1st son's grade one 'forest of pinecones' sits on a small table along with a beautiful music box - gift from a dear friend who died 9 years ago. An advent calendar from the gift shop of my favourite workplaces, Seven Sleeps Before Christmas - a book authored 20 years ago by a friend of mine. Decorations made by the boys. It goes on and on. 

These are not just items that get brought out each Christmas season to 'decorate the house'. These are wonderful memories wrapped in love and fondly placed around my home each year. I am surrounded by a lifetime of love and goodness every day but especially remembered and celebrated this time of year.