What do you do when your career in the corporate life is disrupted? The clock is ticking bidding you to think of retirement. What is life after retirement?
I retired at age 39 after 18 years of corporate life in one of the largest companies in Southeast Asia. People who heard about it said I was too young to retire. I told them I didn’t retire. I RE-TIRE that is, I changed tires.
It was time for me to go to the PIT STOP and choose which tires would I take on for the next season of my life (assuming I live till I am 80 years old.) And boy! What a journey it has been.
I was in my Mt. Everest of corporate life when God called me to do mission work for the youth through Bigkis Young Life Foundation. It was one of my bucket lists in my lifetime. While I had allowance from the ministry, I used my retirement pay for our daily bread. My husband went into business but it did not work out. During my time of discernment, I took a workshop on the Power of Personal purpose with Trinidad Hunt in Kona, Hawaii. A few hours before I boarded my plane back home, I took a helicopter ride in Oahu Island which hovered for a minute at the thick forest of the Sacred Falls where the Jurassic Park movie was shot. There I felt God whispering to me,
“Do not worry. Look at the abundance of this forest. No one takes care of it but Me. You are my beloved.”
On the last working day of December of 1999, I signed off from my corporate life. I remember running the head of the pen on the walls of my cubicle as I was whispering FREEEDOMMM like in the movie, Braveheart.
And the verse of Jeremiah 29:11 came ringing in my ears:
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
I imagined myself catching the trapeze that God swung to me in my Mt. Everest as I said Yes to the mission when all my children were in grade school and my husband had yet to establish his business again.
As I let go of the trapeze, God caught me with his magic carpet and like Aladdin I saw a whole new world of the youth who have a lot of talent and potential and yet wanting of role models. Along with fellow adult leaders, I devoted my time and talent hanging out with the youth in the school or parishes sharing with them who Jesus Christ is and how much he loves and cares for us. We conducted retreats, leadership trainings and youth camps.
On the home front, I shed off my corporate power dressing and found myself domesticated with household chores as soon as we repatriated from Hong Kong.
In the ordinariness of the kitchen sink, I felt God’s presence telling me to write my book. For ten years prior to that fateful morning, I nurtured this dream to become an inspirational author and speaker as there are so many miracles in our family life that have to be shared. In between my mission work, I wrote, self- published and launched in 90 days my very first book, The Gospel According to my Kitchen Sink.
Little did I know that God had other plans for me. And that is to be a book coach. Many who read my book were inspired and shared they wanted to write their life story. One of them, Josette Biyo was a public school teacher who won the Intel Teaching Excellence Award in Kentucky, USA. She has a planet named after her. She wrote and launched her storybook, “A Trip to Planet Biyo” in 72 days. At first she shared with me that she had been asked to write her storybook but did not have the time. I asked her, “Dr. Biyo, send me one story a day – just one story.” In 30 days, she sent me 30 stories that completed her book. She was an obedient student. No wonder, she was a great teacher.
“My grammar sucks!” This was Fil-Canadian Juliet Van Ruyven’s repartee with Mark Victor Hansen, author of Chicken Soup for the Soul, when the latter told her, “You have a book in you, write it.” When she went home to the Philippines, Juliet used the Law of Attraction and Intention to meet a Filipina author who can help write her book. Our common friend, Msgr Antonio Unson gifted her with a number of books including my Kitchen Sink storybook. Awake in the wee hours due to jetlag, she singled out and read my book from cover to cover. Two days after, the three of us were together having breakfast. Ten minutes into my sharing how I wrote my book, Juliet said “I will send you the ticket to Canada and help me write my book.” Juliet was true to her word. Three months after, she sent me the ticket to Canada. Wait there is more. She also sponsored me to Harv Eker’s Millionaire Mind seminar. In August of 2005, Juliet Van Ruyven launched her book entitled The Tale of Juliet. By January 2006, she was one of the awardees for “People of the Year” by Starweek Magazine and her book became an Amazon bestseller.
The success of my new friend Juliet made me remember a dear friend whose life story is so awe inspiring. I wrote my friend, “If Juliet has inspired millions of people, you can do the same with your story. Write your storybook.” She started writing and sending her stories to me and then complete silence. I jokingly threatened her to pay me 100 USD if she did not send me her stories. Unknown to me she had a writer’s block when she had to write the most painful and traumatic experience of her life. Until one day, she surprised when she told me she already wrote her story book in 40 days. Her daughter sent her a note with Rick Warren’s famous quote from Purpose Driven Life.
“Other people are going to find healing in your wounds. Your greatest life messages and your most effective ministry will come out of your deepest hurts.”
This is Imelda Roberts, author of Barefooted Soul. With her life story she became the first Filipina to receive the Ellis Island Medal of Honor for Life Achievement. Among her co-recipients are US Presidents, senators and other personalities in sports, arts and culture among others. Today, she is living her dream through her Blue Dreams farm in Frederick, Maryland.
To date, there are four more authors who found inspiration in that little kitchen sink gospel book and propelled them to write their own storybook. On my part, I have written three more inspirational books since 2000 and have gone to the pit stop to change tires and take on other business I never thought I would get into.
When we view retirement as going to the pit stop of life to change tires, then life becomes more exciting and fulfilling. Let God sing to you Aladdin’s “A whole new world”.