5/16/2018

The Art of Adaptability in Retirement

One retiree's journey from a career in media to a retirement in fine art

By Dena Zocher
Freelance Writer

Painter Cathy Silton recently transitioned to a new phase of a vibrant career that continues to demand creativity, agility and adaptability.

She's been a radio DJ and reporter, hosted a cooking show on broadcast television, and enjoyed a long run as a writer, editor and publisher. “There was always a lot of writing involved,” she says.

“The key of my career has been to be in a creative environment,” says Silton. “A keyword has been ‘assisting’ I've always been helping others in some way.”

Embracing a new identity
Silton ponders the meaning of the word “retirement” in light of self–discovery. “It means reexamining your purpose. It means appreciating that life is what you're busy doing while you're making plans for what comes next,” she says.

“For me, it's like you're embracing a new identity. Or maybe one you had all along but didn't have time to nurture.”

“A few years ago, a friend gave me some art supplies. I found a wonderful way to express my creativity through a new medium, and that's painting. I never thought I would become a working artist, making paintings and selling them in galleries, having clients.”

“Making art challenges my preconceptions about using my time,” says Silton.

More time for others
“Having more time has given me the opportunity to think about myself less. I have more time to visit a neighbor or volunteer. I've found I've expanded my capacity for empathy,” says Silton.

“I like helping older people. That's been part of my job at different times,” she says. “Now I'm volunteering with a group of elderly ladies in their 80s and 90s who are in a memory care facility. I sing with them and read fun current–event news items to them. It's very simple, and they really enjoy it.”

“For me, it's like you're embracing a new identity. Or maybe one you had all along but didn't have time to nurture.”
– Cathy Silton

Life–long learning, exploring new horizons
Between artistic and altruistic pursuits, Silton makes time for fun. “I like to hike, bike and exercise! Gardening is very important!”

For Silton, those activities are the spice that adds flavor to deeper, more purposeful connections with family, friends and community.

Of her post–corporate transition, Silton says, “It's a constant learning curve to be more adaptable and flexible. It never stops.”

Her advice to those contemplating or just starting retirement? “Expand your horizons to engage with lots of different people. Cast your net widely, and learn as much as you can from them.”

“Time is a precious jewel, but it's easy to waste,” says Silton. Still, she concludes, “I don't think we can ever get to the end of finding our purpose. The striving is what keeps us going.”

Experience the #retirementyouwant – find out more at Jackson.com

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The opinions and forecasts expressed are those of the author and individuals quoted and should not be construed as a recommendation or as complete. Dena Zocher is not affiliated with Jackson National Life Distributors LLC.

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