I've now spent about 60 years on this big round ball (yeah, I'm not giving into the flat earth stuff yet) and have completed a few things during that time. With "things" being jobs, projects, goals, challenges and more. I've built things, broke things, fixed things, rebuilt things, re-broke things, explored new things, enjoyed old things, and tried new things. These things range from bicycles, Lego animation, go karts, old cars, motorcycles, automated homes, big and small computer networks, dynamic websites, patios, carports, computers, robots, 3D printers, relationships, policies, processes, and beyond.
I've found for my purpose, it's not the end result thing that counts, it's the process of getting there. Figuring out the process, finding the right design, making the new part, making it all work out, getting the right algorithm, assembling the code or finished up parts, or working through the wording on that new policy, is the part I actually enjoy, usually more than using the finished "thing". It's not that I don't want or enjoy the end result, be it a paper, car, bot, process, computer or whatever, it's just that getting there was as much or more fun than the results often to me.
I guess that's a good thing since, as in life, getting to the end isn't the real goal. I'm glad I never felt I was only "working for retirement". I worked for 45 years from car hop, cashier/sacker to outside plant engineer and on to Chief Information Officer, but enjoyed each of those stops along the way and what was involved in making each job work the best it could. I remember working on Long Range Outside Plant Plans (LROPPs) for many Bell wire centers and, although I was happy to be finished with each, the end product didn't have as much meaning to me as the working through the process.
Interestingly enough, in the Information Systems career that followed, the end result of your work had a very short "shelf life" so the job required constant "processing" to keep it updated and relevant. Maybe that is why I liked it as much as I did. The same feeling is there for cars, bikes, robots, and more. The end result is cool and fun, but the process was the most fun.
I'm glad I enjoyed the process of life so far, and hope to enjoy the process of retirement for some time to come. In reality, life is just a series of "now" moments strung through seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, and decades, so life's plan really should be "enjoy each day" ... and the "process" of that day you have been given.
-Stephen W Nolen
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