RETIREMENT COACHING – DEBBIE DRINKARD GROVUM – Boxes are packed, the moving truck is scheduled and soon we will be leaving Minnesota for our new home in Florida.  Calling it our “new” home is not exactly accurate because we have spent time in our vacation home there for the past eight years.  But now Florida will be our home.

We spent a number of years discussing and planning where we wanted to be when jobs no longer required us to live in a specific place.  Sarasota, Florida came out on top for many reasons, the coastal climate being only one of the draws.

Amidst the excitement of moving and looking toward our future comes the realization that I am leaving behind treasured friendships.  I have spent so much time saying good-by to friends that my husband has started calling our last few weeks “the long good-by.”  He is ready to pack the truck and head for Florida, but I need one last lunch or coffee or dinner or walk in the park before I leave.

A favorite song from my Girl Scout days keeps running through my head: “Make new friends, but keep the old.  One is silver and the other gold.”  I have thought about how I am going to keep in touch with golden friends:-e-mail, skype, phone calls, and girl trips, to name a few.  Now my thoughts are turning to making silver friends.

In earlier stages of our lives, our friends often come from school and work, but when we no longer are working or going to school, we need to look elsewhere to meet people.  In What Color is Your Parachute for Retirement,  Richard Bolles and John Nelson point out that we may need to find new places to meet people because unlike education and employment, retirement doesn’t have  “Automatic Relationship Generators.”

Bolles and Nelson suggest that in retirement we need to identify our own Automatic Relationship Generators, including the following:

  1. Alumni organizations
  2. Athletic teams
  3. Charitable organizations
  4. Extended family
  5. Faith communities
  6. Political organizations
  7. Service clubs
  8. Volunteer activities

Making a list of potential relationship generators is a good place to start.  Think about the type of involvement you would like to explore based on your values, strengths, and interests. Choose one from each category and set a goal for how and when you will get involved.

Last year we spent four months in Sarasota, and I thought of it as my pre-move exploration.  I tried out a lot of activities and met a lot of people.  Some were great, and I am looking forward to being more involved.  Others were interesting but not something I wanted to pursue.  At times I was busier than I wanted to be, but I reminded myself that I was on a mission to learn as much as I could about how I wanted to live when we made Sarasota our home.

As we move from one state to another, I am looking forward to new adventures and new friends.  At the same time I treasure my old friends and will keep them close to my heart.

Make new friends,

But keep the old.

One is silver

And the other gold.


A circle is round.

It has no end.

That’s how long

I want to be your friend

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