Reinventing Retirement

Finding Balance

When I decided to leave the world of TV exactly a year ago this weekend I said to myself that I was FINISHED forever. I felt that to truly follow my heart I needed a complete divorce from my past life. And in fact this is largely what I pursued for the first eight months. I enjoyed some real downtime to be with myself and unclutter those inner closets. I visited musueums, saw friends, did lots of yoga and decided to get certified as an instructor in an intensive summer program. And there is no question that I am much happier and healthier today.

Annie in Pigeon Pose

But as Marcel Proust wrote,  “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes but in having new eyes.” Having totally walked away from my TV identity of 30 years I can look at it differently and realize that perhaps there are some things I can still do that are rewarding and not in conflict with my path of the heart. I have taken several jobs with the Paley Center (formerly the Museum of Broadcasting) directing shows on women in the media. I freelance occasionally as an associate director for ESPN/ABC Sports and enjoy a completely DIFFERENT type of work experience that doesn’t bring back the stress and soul crushing sensation that I remember from my days in news. And I am currently working as a director for WNET public TV in NY to launch their first ever live election day coverage for November. When I first allowed myself the possibility of inching back into this line of work I had many sleepless nights. Am I compromising what I had promised myself I would do… to go in a completely DIFFERENT direction?

Am I only attracted by the idea of a paycheck? Am I that shallow? Can I continue to love and dedicate myself to yoga as I do and still be a director in any way?

I found that in fact I am still going in a different direction. I am deciding what I do as opposed to having it decided for me. I can still find joy in being creative in the world of television as well as in yoga without losing my way. To me this is finding balance in an unexpected way. I love that I have been able to rediscover what drew me to directing in the first place 25 years ago AND get paid to do it while still keeping an open heart. What could be better?

Annie & her husband at a vineyard in Oregon

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About the Author: Ann Benjamin is a 30 year veteran of ABC NEWS where she was the director for programs such as World News, Nightline, 20/20, and major special events. In the fall of 2010 she followed her heart and left that world to pursue her dream of teaching yoga. In July 2011 she was certified by Laughing Lotus NYC. She now divides her time between her passion for yoga and those media projects which she finds interesting and rewarding. Check out her website at www.inlightyoganyc.com.