move on

Move On – Sondheim in Retirement

Move On – Sondheim in Retirement




Steven Sondheim’s song “Move On” speaks to the challenge of creating a new chapter in life. We all must move on at some point, actually at several points, since life is full of new chapters.

As this may be Sondheim’s most vulnerable show (“Sunday in the Park with George”), nothing makes me happier than to put it together with retirement. What says Sondheim about transitions such as retirement in his song Move On?


Move On

Move on challenges you to do better in this new chapter of your life. Dot asks, “Are you working on something new?”

George says no. Dot responds, “that is not like your George.”

George says he has nothing creative to say, well, nothing that’s not been said.

Dot knows just what to say “Said by you, though. George.”

Move on…

Stop worrying where you’re going-

Move on

If you can know where you’re going

You’ve gone

Just keep moving on


When you face a new chapter in your life, the answer is to move on. To reinvent yourself. What is the other choice, after all?

And just keep moving on if you make a wrong choice. Even wrong decisions can be repaired with self-forgiveness and a little grace. Grace for yourself, for sure, and for others, too.

Stop worrying about where you’re going and just move on. Just keep moving on.


The Choosing Was Not Mistaken

However you got to this next chapter in your life, the choosing was not mistaken.

I don’t like inspirational books that say the timing of everything is “perfect.” Nothing about moving on is perfect, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have to do it. It doesn’t need to be perfect. It doesn’t even need to be ok. It just needs to be.

Sometimes you just have to radically accept what has happened. The choosing was not mistaken.

If you trust yourself and your intuition, a choice done for the right reasons always leads to results.



I chose, and my world was shaken-

So what?

The choice may have been mistaken,

The choosing was not

You have to move on


Move on after you make bad decisions. You had to make the decision, and it is not perfect, nor are you. Self forgiveness for the decisions and grace for yourself. Or visa-versa.


Look At What You Want


Look at what you want,

Not at where you are,

Not at what you’ll be-

Look at all the things you’ve done for me

Opened up my eyes,

Taught me how to see,

Notice every tree-

Understand the light-

Concentrate on now-


When moving on, look at what you want. Look at what you’ll be, not at where you are. Notice every tree, learn how to see. Live in the now. Accept. Feel. Move on.

And perhaps most importantly, concentrate on the now. Mindfulness is the road to artistry in retirement.



I Want To Move On

So, what do you do when you are ready to move on, to create something new? Well, let’s ask Steven Sondheim what he would do. His character, George Sarate, says to Bernedette Petters:


I want to move on

I want to explore the light

I want to know how to get through,

Through to something new,

Something of my own-

Move on



Let Other’s Make That Decision

This is the best part of the song:


Stop worrying it your vision

Is new

Let others make that decision-

They usually do

You keep moving on


Anything you create in retirement will be challenged. You will challenge it, worrying if your vision is new. Others may challenge it as well if your vision is big enough. That is key—if you get pushback from others—you know you are on the right track. You keep moving on. Keep living in the moment, seeing the light, and moving toward your retirement vision.



Look at What You’ve Done

Dot knows just what to say to make you cry:



Look at what you’ve done,

Then at what you want,

Not at where you are,

What you’ll be

Look at all the things

You gave to me

Let me give to you

Something in return

I would be so pleased…


We’ve always belonged



We will always belong



Just keep moving on

Anything you do

Let it come from you

Then it will be new

Give us more to see…



She is his muse. She asks him move on. And to keep moving on.

You chose to shake up your life. Now you have to move on.

Anything you do let it come from you.

Not at what you’ll be. What have you done for others? What have you taught them how to see?



Artistic Crisis in Retirement

Of course, you don’t need to be an artist to understand Move On. It is about an artistic crisis, but you have different sorts of crises in retirement. And perhaps crisis is the wrong word, but certainly, you have to work on identity issues in retirement.

In retirement, you Move On from your Job and retire. Your identity changes. We all strive to make “things that count” in retirement. That is the art of retirement!

The artistic vision is like your vision of retirement. What do you want to paint (or sculpt, or write, or plan) that makes your retirement “things that will be new?” How you perceive the world through the prism of retirement creates your art.

In retirement, like in art, you have to make a choice regardless of the consequences. To say it again: “I chose and my world was shaken — So what? The choice may have been mistaken, the choosing was not.”

You have to make a choice while not knowing where that path may lead. In all of life’s great transitions, there is a choice to be made, and an art as well.



Posted in Retirement and tagged .