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James Hayward Resized

An Encore In The Making

Sometimes, your Encore is in a state of flux. Or on hold. Or, as in Jim Hayward’s case, quite simply a great big question mark. 

“When I retired on a Friday, within just two or three days, I was having buyer’s remorse,” says Jim, recalling a moment earlier this year when he walked away from his job as bond assistant at Mapes Insurance Agency in Grand Rapids. 

“I’d always been ‘Jim Hayward, bond guy.’ And now, I was just ‘Jim Hayward, blank.’” 

But it’s a familiar story to those of us who track others’ Encores. It’s one thing to retire “from” something. But it takes deliberate acts to embrace what you’re retiring “to.” 

And in Jim’s case, he’s being careful to pull the right triggers at the right time, scouting for opportunities that will provide him purpose with a passion. 

A graduate of Lincoln High School in Warren, Jim earned a degree from Michigan State University in finance in 1976. He worked in the bond business his entire professional career, until 2010 when his office closed. 

After spending eight months in volunteer roles at West Michigan Food Bank, Family Futures and the Inner City Christian Federation, he joined Mapes in 2011 until his retirement this past summer. 

“I had a chance to work at a golf course 16 to 20 hours a week, but I would have had to work weekends, and I didn’t want to do that.” The job might also have jeopardized the opportunity for Jim to spend two days weekly with his and wife Ann’s grandkids, “and I didn’t want to do that, either.” 

“It’s been harder than I thought it would be,” he says, referring not only to searching for what’s next, but also waving goodbye to friends he’d made at Mapes. “Those friendships remain,” he hastens to says, “but it’s not the same as being there.” 

So he’s examining other options. A buddy has a recording studio, so who knows? And then there are volunteer openings, including ones at a local radio station he has his eyes on. In the meantime, he enjoys golf, and going to the gym, and those grandkids. 

One thing he won’t do is stop searching for something to fill his days. That’s because he has sharp memories of his father’s track, who spent a lifetime as an hourly employee in the automotive business, then retired “and just stopped.” 

For that reason and others, Jim abides by the old adage that “if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.” 

And continues on his voyage of discovery.

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