Celebrating Next – Sandra J. Anderson
It is our mission at Lifelaunch Consulting to help others define their ‘next’ with purpose and intention, and to celebrate as a new chapter unfolds. As part of this, we are highlighting our friends who have successfully navigated the move from ‘now’ to ‘next’ and are thriving as a result! It is our hope that by sharing these stories, we inspire others to live their lives to the fullest.
Name:Sandra J. Anderson
My pre-retirement career:In 2010, I retired as a partner from the Columbus law firm, Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP, where I was a trial attorney for 33 years. I took four days off and then started working again, as Associate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel with The Ohio State University Office of Legal Affairs. OSU was one of my very favorite clients when I served as Special Counsel for the University on a number of fascinating cases during my years (decades) at the Vorys firm. After three years as in-house counsel at OSU, I retired a second time. This time, I succeeded in staying retired (at least so far).
Three ways I spend my time in retirement:I get to pick only three? Okay, here goes. (1) Non-profit board service and community service. In other words, I am actually still working – just not for compensation. Current examples: Chair of the Equality Ohio Education Fund Board; Vice-Chair of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio board; Steering Committee member, The Matriots PAC; Legacy Fund of the Columbus Foundation board; Ohio State Legal Services board; Ohio University Foundation board; and working on or supporting political campaigns. (2) Enjoying my family, such as traveling with my wife (our big trip last year was biking and river-cruising from Prague to Budapest), visiting Mom at her nursing home at least once a week (she is very happy there, which is a blessing), walking the dogs (they are family too, of course), and spoiling nieces and nephews (including the great-nieces and great-nephew, with more on the way). (3) Planting and harvesting from my front yard garden in Dublin, Ohio, and posting pictures on Facebook to document (brag about?) the progress and produce throughout spring, summer and fall. Speaking of “three ways,” my life philosophy (which I borrowed from another source somewhere along the way) has evolved to this: Life should be lived in thirds: One-third learning, one-third earning and one-third serving. Not necessarily in that order, but in that proportion. I never stop learning. My earning years are mostly behind me. And now, my focus is on the service part.
What I love most about retirement:So many things. Freedom and flexibility. Wearing blue jeans much of the time. Being well rested. Very rarely do I set an alarm. If I’m not awake of my own accord, one of our dogs (the one with the ravenous appetite) usually serves the purpose of rousing me up at breakfast time.
My biggest challenge with retirement:Before I became a “retiree,” my fear was that I would become invisible and irrelevant, since I had spent so much of my life being (or thinking I was) identified by my profession and place of employment. That fear did not materialize, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that folks still wanted to meet me for coffee, lunch or adult beverages, and that they wanted me to serve on boards and campaigns and such. The challenge then has become managing my schedule and trying not to overcommit. Also, I really, really miss having an assistant. And an IT department.
What I did to prepare for retirement:Probably the best thing I did to prepare was to diligently save for retirement, starting early during my earning years. That advice about maxing out your 401K contributions? I followed that. I also started planning and saving in other ways early on, such as purchasing a Long Term Care policy and investing in non-retirement accounts, too.
Something I’ve recently done for the first time:In March 2017, I did something that happened to me only once before, when I was born. I spent the night in a hospital. I received a new right hip.
Most recent book/article I’ve read:Lynn and I belong to two Book Clubs, both dating back 20-plus years and populated by the dearest of friends. I usually have two or three books under way, on my bed stand, at any one time. Right now, I’m in the midst of “Radium Girls” by Kate Moore and “Y is for Yesterday” by the recently-departed Sue Grafton. Favorite books recently include “Lab Girls” by Hope Jahren and “Being Mortal” by Atul Gawande. Also, after my dog wakes me up each morning, I pour myself a cup of coffee and leisurely review The Washington Post, The Columbus Dispatch, The New York Times, and any interesting articles posted by my Facebook friends. Plus, a stack of magazines await: the Atlantic, Vanity Fair, Time, AARP (increasingly a favorite), etc. It’s important to invest in the First Amendment.
My future:Continuing to work on boards, causes and political campaigns that have the promise of making the world a better place. And adjusting to whatever life will be like when my currently-working spouse retires. I think it will be fantastic!
My advice for future retirees:Save some money. Seek financial planning advice. Be kind and attentive to family, friends and strangers. Take care of your own health (physical and mental). Plant a garden. Adopt some dogs. Find a good place to board the dogs, so you can travel sometimes. And be eternally grateful for your opportunities!