Yes, you read that title correctly.
Today I gave Zillow Group notice that I’ll be retiring.
Retired, as in no longer working for a living. You know, that thing typically reserved for people older than me (albeit, not a whole lot older).
To say that Francy and I are ridiculously excited about this new phase in our life would be a huge understatement.
Why retire? Because a couple of months ago when I asked Francy what she wanted for her birthday she said, “I want you to retire.” Because the thought of spending more time with my amazing wife and “kids” is incredibly appealing. Because I’ve worked almost daily for the last 40+ years, always with the end goal of not having to work until the day I die.
Why not retire?
“But what will you do all day? How will you pass the time?” some may be wondering.
I’m 57 years old. I want to retire while I am still young and spry enough to enjoy life. To spend more time with those I love. To travel. To sail. To write, take photos, and finally learn to play my guitar. To slay fish. Maybe hack up a golf course now and then. I want more time to help others less fortunate than I am, to volunteer for causes I believe in. Taking a simple walk on the beach holding my bride’s hand is about as good as it gets. To do nothing, or anything. I’ll get to do whatever I want to do.
To quote Thoreau, I want “to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.”
That isn’t a bad way to go through life…
I don’t have a firm date set yet, but it’s looking like sometime this summer. As some reading this know, I’m due for a “Rest and Recharge” sabbatical with Zillow this summer, and had planned on taking that in July/August.
Now I’m just going to go on sabbatical for the rest of my life.
Doesn’t that sound positively delightful?
Why not retire tomorrow? Believe me, it’s tempting; we’re crazy excited to get this new phase of life rolling. But I owe Zillow Group a tremendous amount of gratitude, and I care very deeply about this company. I want to give my team time to transition me out and work through replacing what I do. Plans are in place, they’re insanely smart people, no one is irreplaceable, and they won’t miss a beat without me there. But there’s no point in leaving until things are in order. I’m not running away, I’m retiring. (And I won’t be gone for good. In fact, my manager and I are already talking about me consulting for Zillow Group occasionally).
What has nothing to do with retirement
My current job at Zillow Group, despite what some see me dealing with on a daily basis in the social space, has zero to do with my retirement. Zip, zilch, nada. I love my job (most of the time). In fact, I’ll be very sad to leave, even as I look forward to what’s next.
Zillow Group does, of course, fully support this decision. I told my manager and VP about this a couple of weeks ago, and their support was off the charts. There’s a reason Zillow Group wins countless “Best Places to Work” awards–it IS an amazing place to work, filled with amazing people, and I will miss it deeply.
And no, there wasn’t some ugly/nasty/bitter/absurd/hated-filled comment from some brand detractor that finally made me say, “I’m done with this.” I’m not a quitter, I’m a retiree.
It’s just that time
The simple reason for retiring now is it’s just that time. We are financially secure, we have places we want to see, friends and family we want to visit, and things to do. Francy and I have been married almost twenty-seven years. I’ve spent a significant chunk of that time working, growing a real estate business, working, building a brokerage, working, employed by Zillow, and working some more.
The opportunity has presented itself and it will allow me to spend the rest of my life in continued awe of my wife and children. I relish the thought of spending day after day after day with my bride, unencumbered with a job, answering to no one but each other.
I might do a little side work for fun and profit. I can even foresee popping into the occasional real estate conference over the next few years. Mostly to hang out with my friends, but to also keep my real estate skills sharp (and will someone finally plan a real estate conference in Bora Bora? I’ll hit that one for sure.)
I might drag my real estate brokers license out of Arizona and into Washington state and sell a home now and then. Or I might not. I’ll stay licensed for sure.
You see, that’s the beauty of this retirement thing. I get to do whatever I want to do, and I won’t have to do anything I don’t want to do. I will, of course, continue to do what Francy tells me to do. I’m not an idiot, I’m just retiring.
I’ll see y’all around. I’m retiring from a career, not from life.
This isn’t an end, it’s a new beginning.
Bring. It. On!
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
— H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Photo credit: Lauren Thompson (Ruby Beach, WA)