Passionate living

Photo by Stephanie Corrigan. Used with permission.

Passionate living is nothing new to Thom and Sandy Corrigan. For more than a decade their lives in a Denver, Colorado suburb were a whirlwind as co-owners of an award winning and rapidly growing franchise of a global real estate company. They successfully navigated the difficulties of being husband and wife and running a business. They were regularly involved in community and church activities. Their blended family expanded with marriages and the birth of grandchildren. They had a wide circle of close personal and professional friends.

So when they sold their interest in the real estate franchise, sold their home, started their own thriving brokerage firm, and bought a ranch on the eastern plains of Colorado many of their friends, business associates, and family members thought they were losing their sanity. Instead, they were finding it.

“I was hitting a wall in my business, not having satisfaction and fulfillment even though I was making great money. My coach pointed out I wasn’t having any fun and suggested that I needed to get back into horses,” said Sandy.

Horses are practically part of her family’s DNA. Her grandfather owned the first livery stable in South Dakota and her family owned a ranch there. At the tender age of just 15 months she had her first ride on a horse while visiting the ranch. “I was perched atop a big old Paint and I was hooked,” she said. As she grew up in Wisconsin, riding was a regular part of her life.

Sandy discussed her coach’s suggestion with Thom who was not a horseman and is the more practical, analytical member of this dynamic duo. They agreed to lease a horse and Sandy began to ride regularly. Profound personal and professional changes happened as Sandy interacted with horses. “It turned out I was in transition and I didn’t know it. I was evaluating all of my life choices,” she said. She and Thom decided to wade further into equestrian life and purchased a beautiful mare, Grace.

Then, as often happens when pursuing a dream, their commitment and faith were tested when their mare became critically ill with a life threatening abscess near the heart. The experience would completely reshape their vision for the future. At a time when many people their age consider retirement, Thom and Sandy decided to integrate their love of horses into their lives and their business and began searching for a ranch property to fulfill their dreams. They had an idea of where they wanted to live and the parameters that they needed to meet. They refined and strengthened their vision and their search led them to Elizabeth, Colorado.

As they walked through the house on the acreage they would eventually buy, the peach colored walls and outdated décor did not fit their vision. Others would have walked away saying “This isn’t the one.” But Thom and Sandy realized renovating the house would give them the opportunity to make it their dream home. They both agree the property is now perfect for what they are doing– transforming lives, communities and the world by doing good.

As coaches, they help clients find passion and purpose using their horses, Grace, and recent addition, Sebastian, to facilitate growth and change. As Sandy says, “Grace was healed so she could help heal others.” Thom and Sandy continue to assist buyers in finding a home to support their life and vision through their real estate company, Transformation Realty.

“People talk themselves out of dreams all the time because they knew somebody who had a negative experience or they thought they read something about what might happen. Their perspective of life is through the lens of what bad can come of this,” said Thom. “Retirement is not part of our vocabulary. It’s not part of our life. We enjoy working. We enjoy initiating. People often ask us, ‘Why aren’t you winding down?  Why aren’t you slowing down?’” he continued.

“It’s live or die for us. It’s not live, retire, die. Even if you retire from one thing now maybe you now have more time, more money, more wisdom, freedom of choice, more connections more opportunity to live out the thing that you wanted to do while you were raising your children of pursuing your career. It’s almost like having a second childhood to live out your dreams.”

Kathryn Avery

About Kathryn Avery

When Kathryn Severns Avery’s husband, Chris, began contemplating retirement in 2014, she knew they had to quickly come up with a multi-faceted plan. They spent the next year discussing, sometimes heatedly, what they would do once he stopped working. On paper their plan looked exciting. They would head from Colorado to the 1891 sea captain’s house they bought and renovated in Rockland on Maine’s midcoast. But the reality of planning and implementing retirement was much different than expected. Kathryn has worked in radio, television, marketing, and public relations. She is the author of five books and has written articles on interior design and crafts for national and regional publications including Romantic Homes, Log Homes Illustrated, The Rocky Mountain News and Colorado Homes and Lifestyles.