It's All About the Core (Values) | State College, PA –

Riding bikes, walking on Hilton Head beaches, playing softball and pickleball hit the Fitness core value in the Battistas’ lives. Photo by Joe Battista
Anyone who has ever worked out with a personal trainer or strength coach will tell you that the key to healthy physical movement is to focus on your core muscles. Without a strong core, nothing else is sustainable. In fact, according to a Harvard Medical School blog post, “Whether you’re hitting a tennis ball or mopping the floor, the necessary motions either originate in your core, or move through it.” It’s all about the core.
Common sense would suggest that if we apply this same principle to the way we go about living our lives, it’s also about the core. But in this case, it’s about core values. Knowing what matters to you should be at the very heart of all the most significant decisions you make in life. But just like many well-intentioned attempts at focusing on our core muscles to get in physical shape, we too often talk a big game about defining what matters most to us without the follow through.
I’ve written about core values in several previous columns, and given that it’s time to prep for my own quarterly “You Review” session, this seems to be an ideal time to revisit this incredibly important topic. Especially because it’s been one year since my wife, Heidi, and I retired and joined hundreds of thousands of fellow baby-boomers who migrated south post-pandemic. While figuring out your core values should be something we teach everyone to do in high school, I find that the majority of people I talk to have never taken the time to actually decide what really matters, regardless of age. That’s sad quite frankly and I’m determined to help people make this a priority. As the saying goes, “If you don’t know what you stand for, you’ll fall for anything.”
I’m particularly sensitive to the number of folks living here in the Lowcountry who are retired or semi-retired and have simply not given enough thought to their purpose in retirement. Whether it’s finding an encore career, if so driven, or the right causes to volunteer for, or having a plan to make their “go-go” years fun and adventurous. It would be a whole lot easier if people really had their core values figured out first.
In full disclosure, the recent passing (at 76) of one of my favorite musicians, the legendary Jimmy Buffett, really hit home and it inspired me to address this topic again. Everyone here in the Lowcountry has been talking about Buffett and musical tributes are everywhere, especially at Latitude Margaritaville, a 55+ active adult community just up the road from our Sun City development here in Bluffton. My kids grew up listening to “Margaritaville,” “Come Monday,” “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” Volcano,” and “A Pirate Looks at Forty” on every long car ride we took, especially as we headed to the beach at Sea Isle City, New Jersey. My daughter and I even went to see a Buffett concert for her 21st birthday and it was epic.
Because I’m 63, and 76 ain’t that far away, I am reminded that every day is a gift and to never take life for granted. While my life expectancy as a male is between 78-83, I’m focused on making the first part of my Golden Years memorable, while I can still get around well and remember who I am! When I see friends of mine still slaving away at jobs they can’t stand and watching it negatively impact their health and relationships, and sucking all the joy out of their lives, I have to ask myself why do they do it? As best-selling author and speaker Simon Sinek says, “You must figure out your WHY.” It really frustrates me to hear, “Because I don’t know what I’d do with my time.” That, folks, is a pretty lame answer.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that everyone just impulsively quit their jobs, retire early and move to some dream destination. I’m suggesting that if you had your core values figured out, you’d develop better options and make more informed choices including when and where you will retire.
What to do with your life depends on too many complex factors, including your stage of life, to default to the “one size fits all” solution. In fact, I have just as many friends who still absolutely love their jobs and gain far more than just a paycheck from their work. That doesn’t dismiss any of them from having a plan to be ready for retirement that is based on a set of well thought out core values. But I don’t get the people who still grudgingly drag themselves to work because someone came up with an arbitrary number like 65 or 70 as the right time to retire because they still don’t really know what matters? That’s just down right sad.  
My top five core values remain Faith, Family, Financial Security, Fitness and Fulfillment.  Nothing too crazy here. But I spent a lot of time and deep thinking to select these five core values because they drive every major decision in my life. It’s also not just about me, but about my spouse and children and their well-being as well. For example, we waited until our youngest graduated from college before we made our decision to retire and move. With our kids all gainfully employed, a big burden is off our shoulders.
Retirement – Year One
So how has the first year of retirement gone? About as good as I believe we had hoped it would. We have found new friends, a great church family, participated in many new physical activities, belong to several clubs and lead a fun social life. I think my wife was a bit worried that she might become a golf widow. Aside from a golf binge of 11 rounds in 14 days before our son Ryan moved away, I’ve actually played less golf than normal because there’s so many other things to do. In fact, we are almost too busy at times.
I think Heidi is more concerned about me getting hurt in some of our more strenuous activities. Ironically, it’s not the multiple softball teams I play for that have me concerned about injuries. It’s the doggone pickleball frenzy! It’s all the short, quick foot movements, forward to back, back to forward and laterally that get you in the knees, hips, back, legs and groin. It’s also the falling on your hands, wrists, elbows, and shoulders going after ungettable shots because we still think we’re 18 sometimes. The joke here is that every time a new couple starts playing pickleball, another orthopedic surgeon gets a new BMW.
I know that the path we chose is not for everyone, but I’ve always believed that you must Dream Big, Keep It Real and Get It Done to live a successful, joyful and fulfilling life. But you gotta know what it is you’re trying to get done and what really matters to you in order for that to become reality.
I’ve seen plenty of people who have flunked retirement. They either get sucked back into the rat race for the thrill of competition, feel a calling to get back to work to achieve something of consequence, go back out of some sense of guilt or they quite frankly don’t want to spend so much time with their significant other. For some, it was absolutely the right thing to do. They needed to get back to work because that’s what really makes them happy and fulfilled. 
If you are in a position to retire but really love your job and you get paid a fair wage for your work, then by all means keep at it. Perhaps the next time they offer you a raise, however, ask for additional time off instead. You can always make money, and you can always cut back spending. Time is the X factor because, just like for Jimmy Buffett, you don’t know when your time is going to be up.
I’ve always believed that at some point in my life, I was meant to be a coach again but more in the form of a teacher and a mentor. I’ve also always wanted to fulfill my obligation to serve God. So, I’m helping the ninth-grade boys at our church youth ministry, working with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and continuing to do Pragmatic Passion programs with local high schools and colleges. So, there is still a purpose and fulfillment, but on our terms.
Everyone’s different. You have to do you. The key is to figure out what really matters to you and how you define success, and that, my friends, must be done with intentional and deliberate thought. So, sit down in a quiet place, get out your list of core values and narrow that list down to the five that matter most. After all, it’s all about the core.
Receive all the latest news and events right to your inbox.
Penn State Student Killed in Vehicle-Pedestrian Crash
Allar Is Stacking Days, and Penn State Is Only Becoming More Confident Because of It
Centre County Chief Deputy Coroner Killed in Crash
80% of consumers turn to directories with reviews to find a local business. provides local news, entertainment, and information for State College, PA. We offer the latest breaking news and videos straight from the Centre County region in Central PA.
220 Regent Court, Suite B, State College, PA 16801
© Copyright 2000 –  |® | All Rights Reserved | State College, PA – Centre County – Central Pennsylvania – Home of Penn State University
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *