The Side Hustle

After retirement, your passion can be a new career.

September 16, 2019 | | Over the Next Hill

I hear that Her Majesty the Queen has a very lucrative side hustle. We all have an idea of what the Queen’s day job entails, but as the owner of racehorses, she has reportedly raked in a cool $9.4 million (U.S.) in winnings over the past three decades. Not bad for a second job.

The idea of diving into a new, or perhaps postponed, area of interest after retirement is alluring. Though younger generations often use the side hustle to help make ends meet, monetary gain isn’t necessarily the prime motivator as we reach our senior years. When we no longer have a day job, it’s more about using our time constructively, doing what we like to do, and perhaps shifting our focus from commerce to community.

The Queen’s race horse hobby has reportedly netted her about $9.4 million. Wenn Rights Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo.

The Queen’s race horse hobby has reportedly netted her about $9.4 million. Wenn Rights Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo.

Take Janice Partington, a former marketing executive. Janice practised yoga most of her adult life, and in her late 50s she took the 200-hour training course for yoga teachers. With retirement approaching she began to teach the meditative practice, and after retiring, with more time to devote to what turns her on, she has become a sought-after instructor. This spring her series of men’s classes even morphed into a golf tune-up session. For Janice, teaching yoga is a way of keeping herself active, both physically and mentally. She is constantly learning, motivated and inspired. On top of that, she donates class fees to various charities, even soliciting input from her students about which charity should benefit.

Types of side gigs are endless. Consider the possibility of becoming a pet sitter, a Lyft or Uber driver, a personal concierge, or a lunchroom supervisor at your local school. Or how about starting a niche podcast, or becoming a beekeeper or event planner? A friend is considering selling some of her artwork for use on cellphone cases.

Whatever it is, it should be fun, and something you look forward to doing.

Classical music has always been an important part of Gordon Morton’s life. As a boy he sang in his church choir, and he has been a community choir member for most of his adult life. Gordon’s 35-year career as an IT executive still had a few years to run when he recognized his opportunity to retire to something, and stepped up to the challenge of bringing live chamber music concerts to the Caledon area.

For its first few years, the newly named Caledon Chamber Concerts was financed solely by Gordon – perhaps this was a reverse side-hustle? – but with more free time after his retirement in 2005, the concert series became a major focus. CCC was established as a not-for-profit corporation, grant applications were made and a website was created as the organization slowly became a viable entity.

Originally, Gordon sought musicians willing to perform in the five concerts he puts together every season, but now the musicians come to him. Gordon has managed to combine his love of music with an opportunity to contribute to his community – and his audiences appreciate the chance to enjoy first-class chamber concerts close to home.

And then there is Palgrave’s Randy Pitcher, known locally as “Computer Captain,” a retired airline pilot turned indispensable neighbourhood computer-support guy. And Joan McDonald of Mono, a retired registered nurse, now doing health assessments, usually triggered by change, for seniors and their families. I wonder how many seats in the Canadian Senate are filled by the side-hustle crowd.

Although becoming a different version of yourself can be downright terrifying, it can also be extraordinarily empowering. Emotional intelligence, which provides the framework for holding your own hand when things get challenging or confusing, might just be the key to navigating a significant life change with grace.

If we take stock of the internal and external support systems we have in place, and make adjustments where necessary, we set ourselves up for success. And if we fail, there is yet another person within us, ready to emerge.

We can’t expect side hustles to be as lucrative as they are for royalty, but perhaps it’s enough if they enable us to stay engaged and active. And it’s a bonus if we’re able to use them to contribute to our community.

I’m reminded of Russian dolls. There is a new one within.

About the Author More by Gail Grant

Gail Grant is a freelance writer who lives in Palgrave.

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