A Soon-To-Be Retiree Gets Ready For His Second Act

As baby boomers, we’re pretty lucky if we get a second act. San Franciscan Terry Hurley is getting one, and already knows what he’s going to do with it.

Retired guy joke: How many days are there in a week? Two. Six Saturdays and one Sunday.

Terrence Hurley

Terry Hurley

I announced to my employer that I planned to retire September 9th. I’ll be 62. I’ve been fortunate and had a wonderful career but now it’s time to accumulate some new memories. After all, I’m just retiring from work, not from life.

I’m not entirely sure yet what my retirement life will look like day-to-day and haven’t figured out exactly what’s next but here are 20 things I swear I won’t ever do during the next phase of my life — at least not in Year One:

  1. hurley_4Wonder what my purpose now is in life.
  2. Talk to a retirement coach.
  3. Call my former co-workers to see what’s going on in the office.
  4. Go to a meeting … anywhere … of any kind.
  5. Check my emails more than once a day.
  6. Complain how things were better 30 or 40 years ago — including the music of course.
  7. Eat dinner before 6:00 pm and go to bed before 9.
  8. Set an alarm clock.
  9. Move to one of those “Best Places to Retire” list cities, sorry Boise.
  10. Garden, fish, golf, or do tai chi.
  11. Wear sandals, baggy shorts, or a fanny pack.
  12. hurley_5Get a tattoo or grow a ponytail.
  13. Play Mr. Fix It around the apartment.
  14. Eat Fiber One every day for breakfast.
  15. Ask my wife what’s for lunch more than once a week.
  16. Ask our two children when we’re going to be grandparents, even though they are not even married yet.
  17. Post to Facebook hourly.
  18. Sign up for Snapchat.
  19. Read the obituaries.
  20. Wish I had worked longer.


On the other hand, here are 10 things I most certainly will do:

  1. Allow myself to settle into my new life.
  2. Accept that the world will get along just fine without my contributions to the work force.
  3. Promise not to confuse my new life with my career.
  4. Have a bulletproof response ready for the inevitable “So what do you do all day?” question. (For now, the response is “Whatever I want.”)
  5. Allow myself the occasional luxury of being bored.
  6. Be spontaneous and throw caution to the wind. In other words, more yes, less no.
  7. Revel in doing things and care less about having things.
  8. Don’t lose sight of the small things that bring me joy.
  9. Value the wisdom and experience that come with age.
  10. Be grateful for every moment, every day.


I saw a greeting card recently that said, “There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.”

I understand that the post-work glow will eventually fade but I look forward to taking full advantage of the time retirement provides. I can’t stop what’s coming but I can appreciate my good fortune right now and approach this next phase of my life with wonder, enthusiasm, and openness.


  1. Good luck with your dos and don’ts. The transition can be a little difficult to navigate but you’re at the controls. Don’t let others dictate your course (unless it’s your wife, on occasion). I’ve been retired for nearly two years and I’ve even ran across folks a few years younger who resent me being retirement. So get out and enjoy life; the second act can be as fulfilling as the first.

  2. Don’t worry about all the do’s and don’ts as you have no idea what you’ll really want as you explore life’s opportunities. And there are so many you’ll wish you retired sooner. Explore the planet and try everything to find our what makes you happy now and go for it. I did and I’m living in southern Thailand on a remote island and have started a blog to help others enjoy themselves as they journey through life. I love my life!

    Visit my blog and you’ll see what I mean, and maybe I can inspire you to toss your lists! You can find me at http://www.thehappycat.ca

    It’s all good!

  3. The best part about this season of life is you can define it any way you want…and live it that way, too. Sounds like you’ve given your roadmap a lot of thought. Wishing you all the best (and I definitely agree about the alarm clock!).

  4. Terry, Congrats for completing your corporate job life, not looking in the rear view mirror to relive the past and most important, not jumping in head first into your second act. I believe we all seniors need to focus on their health and wellness first before trying some new retirement lifestyle options. Personally, I was downsized at the age of 45. I was in an incubation stage for several years before I founded the Seniorpreneur Project. I researched what other seniors were doing with their free time and how they made the transition to an active, active and productive retirement. If you need any more help my website is: http://www.seniorpreneur.ca/ Good Luck in your journey towards your Second act life experiences.

  5. Great attitude! I will retire in 10 years when I’m 67. I can imagine your “dos” and “don’ts” are flexible, adjustable lists based on circumstances and how you feel at the time. Good for you! Happy 2nd Act!

  6. You go, Terry; congratulations! Thanks for sharing your words of wisdom with all of us who are fortunate to be early retirees.

  7. I retired two years ago and I have never been so busy. I wonder how I ever had time to work quite frankly. I’m the feature article in Boomer this week, and if you read it, you can tell my working life was less than ideal (well even my personal life) but that being said, I’m having a great time now. I do have to say that in the first 6-8 months i had some adjusting to do. I was stumped and a bit sad because, even though I didn’t like my job, my personality had been tied to it. Letting go of that in the beginning I wondered, who exactly am I? I got over it, but it was an adjustment.

    Congratulations on your retirement. It sounds to me like you have a good handle on things. All the best to you.

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