Your Highest, Best Use

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I know I said I was back…about three months ago.  Yeah, well…uh…let’s move on. 😀

Anyway, you’ve heard the term “highest best use” right?  It’s a real estate thing, I think.  It doesn’t matter.  It just means making the most out of something, like a piece of property.  Kind of like maximizing it’s use for the highest profit or maybe the most dwelling units or whatever.

Let’s apply that to your life.  Is you job your highest, best use?  Maybe it is.  Maybe you’re a rocket scientist or a brain surgeon.  You’re doing something amazing with your skill, your talent and your education.  I can only assume people who put that much effort into becoming something must love it.

So couple their love of their work with maximized potential and you’ve got highest, best use.  But what if you don’t love your work or you’re not realizing your full potential…or both?

Maybe you’d rather be doing something else entirely.  You hate doing your job but you’re good at it.  So you keep doing it and they keep promoting you and giving you more responsibility.  Highest and best use?

Or you love your work but you’re not being used to your full potential.  You know you can do more, better work.  You know you can make a difference but it’s not happening.  Myopic boss, red tape or personal conflict might be the reason.  Highest and best use?

Nope!  How can you give your all at a job you hate?  How can you really be happy if you’re not realizing your potential?  You can’t.  Your highest and best use lies elsewhere.  You are spinning your wheels and wasting your time.

But hey, this a retirement blog, not a career coaching blog.  Well, consider that your highest and best use might be something entirely different.  Maybe it’s not a job or a career at all.  I’ve said it before…go ahead and read my old posts…maybe retirement is where you make a difference.

But how, you might ask.  In retirement you’re not productive, you’re not working.  How can you make a difference?  Well, making a difference isn’t only measured in widgets produced or gizmos sold.  Hours worked doesn’t mean you’re doing anything truly worthwhile.  You’ve seen those guys leaning on shovels and wearing orange vests on the side of the road, right?

Maybe your highest best use isn’t working for a living anymore.  There are so many ways, big and small, to make an impact in people’s lives.  Sharing your creativity, your wisdom and your inspiration isn’t worthless.  Having a direct effect on real people’s lives isn’t meaningless.  Living your dreams has value.

Is what you do at work so important that you’d really be missed?  I’m sure a lot of people would answer yes but it’s usually not true.  Besides, there’s some young kid out there looking for work.  They’re hungry and ambitious.  Maybe they even really love doing what you have learned to hate.  Maybe they have a passion for it.

So, are you wasting precious time engaged in work that isn’t your highest and best use?  Has your enjoyment and productivity waned as you aged?  Maybe it’s time to move on and do something else.  Something your passionate about…maybe something that doesn’t earn a paycheck.

Ultimately, it’s your decision.  Only you can decide if your time and effort might be better spent with your spouse instead of at the office or traveling the world instead of going on business trips or maybe writing that book instead of writing another proposal.  But remember, if you’re not engaged in something that is your highest and best use you’re wasting your time and effort.  You’re wasting your life.

I’m Back!

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I’m so surprised at how many people still read and leave comments on this blog.  It’s staggering.  There are a lot of people, apparently, looking for answers about retirement.  I’m not surprised.  Working sucks and after being retired for over six years, I couldn’t imagine going back to that life.  I was miserable.  I chose my career based on happenstance.  I should have taken a chance when I was 21 or so and gone back to school to become a graphic artist.  But I didn’t.  I’m retired now but how many years did I waste doing something I barely tolerated?

img_2155But I’ve gained new perspective since I retired and stopped writing this blog.  I’ve done and continue to do the things I preached about.  My wife quit her job a year and a half ago.  We kicked our kids out of the house (on good terms) and sold the house last fall.  We live in an Apartment in Reno, Nevada, and are actively planning to buy a motorhome and hit the open road next year.  I began writing fiction and self-published several novels.  I stopped that when the self-publishing market became to difficult and frustrating to compete in and now we have a YouTube channel.  I loved writing and now, I love making videos.

Life isn’t perfect.  My dad contracted a horrible staff infection last summer and spent four month in the hospital.  It was a real challenge getting our sons off on their own.  Selling our house was full of ups and downs.  My wife, Jen, had complications from her gall bladder surgery that lasted 11 months.  We’ve had issues with our extended families.  And, as I’ve alluded to in the past on this blog, I suffered from back-related pain…sort of.  That’s life!

But I’ve done things I’ve always wanted…like publish a novel or many as the case may be.  We’ve traveled.  We’ve spent time with our kids and been able to support them as they transitioned to the Marines and the other to college, though not often (thank God) monetarily.  We’ve taken long hikes, explored many places and spent quiet evenings watching the sun set, smoking a fine cigar and enjoying some craft beer (me, not the wife).  Life is good.

I’m practicing what I preached and I’m doing it with far less money than a lot of people retire on.  We’re not poor but we’re not rich either.  We’ve had to make sacrifices and hard choices.  For instance, we love to travel and RVing will allow us to travel a lot more than we could with a house.  We’ve had to make those kind of choices and we’ve made them.  We do what makes us happy and what is important to us, not what we’re expected to do or what others demand.  We live life on our terms and within our means.  We are making the most of our relative youth (I’m 50, can you believe it?) while we still can.  We are making memories and having experiences.  That’s all that really matters in the end.  Not money, fancy cars, big houses, golf club memberships, expensive toys, Facebook or being up in the latest new show on Netflix.

dscn2192Those things aren’t bad in and of themselves.  If you have the money, enjoy it.  If you love golf or sports cars, indulge.  I have a $40,000 Jeep Wrangler for Pete’s sake because I love Jeeps (paid for thanks to the sale of our home).  But those things are what the rest of society tells you are important to be happy.  The signals are everywhere.  Even retirement planners are pushing that stuff.  It’s all meaningless when you’re on your death bed.  You won’t wax poetic about having high speed internet or the heated seats in your Mercedes (yes, my Jeep has heated seats).  You definitely won’t regret retiring on a shoestring budget to do what you want when you want.

You’ll remember time spent with your spouse, family and friends.  You’ll remember the experiences you’ve had, like seeing Yosemite for the first time or that nude beach you and your partner sneaked off to or all the sunrises you witnessed.  You’ll remember the people that you love and the amazing things you did.  Money is superfluous.  It’s a means to an end, nothing more.  Possessing it doesn’t make you happy and happiness doesn’t require it.  Retirement, however you define it, is it’s own reward.  The freedom it provides, if you let it, is invaluable.  It is not boring.  It is not depressing.  It most certainly is not the end.  Unless you decide it is.

So, when are you going to pull the plug and get on with your life?

With that, expect more from me in the future.  I don’t know how often I’ll post but I’ve got more to say.  I hope some of you will find inspiration or courage in my musings.

Moving On!

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IMG_4117I’m moving on.  I’ve had a good time blogging about retirement over the last few years.  I like to think I’ve helped a few people making the decision to retire and offered some good advice, even if I don’t always follow it myself.  As I’ve said, retirement isn’t the end, it’s the beginning.  I’ve transitioned completely into a comfortable groove and I was running out of sage advice.  So, I’m no longer going to update this blog.  I will however be consolidating all my blogging activity on my main blog, Fly Fish Nevada.

This blog will remain up until WordPress pries it from my cold, dead ha…OK, maybe that’s a little dramatic but you get the idea.  I will likely begin a blog to detail our transition from a stick house to an RV but that’s a few years off.  In the meantime, I will be blogging over at Fly Fish Nevada.   Not just about fishing either.  I’ll probably throw out the occasional retirement post, posts about life in general, whatever.  I hope you join me over there.  If you’ve found this blog for the first time, feel free to browse and read what’s here.  It’s still applicable.

Thanks for reading.

 

Bump in the Road

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This has nothing to do with the post, but it’s pretty isn’t it? McLeod Lake above Mammoth Lakes, CA with the Sierra Crest in the background.

My wife had her gall bladder out a couple of weeks ago.  The week before that was spent at urgent care as her symptoms progressed.  As you might expect, my focus has been elsewhere.  She’s recovering and doing well.  Still tired and in some pain, but on the road to a full recovery.  It reminds me how precious not only life is, but the good times in life.  We’ve had a lot of bad times as of late and when things do manage to go smoothly, I try to appreciate it.

I had 10 inches of colon out 5 years ago.  Things went well for a while, but then almost three years ago our washing machine flooded our house.  Not the end of the world, but not exactly good times.  The contractor dragged his feet and we ended up three months later spending Christmas in an unfinished house.  Considering my house was built in 5 months, that seemed a little excessive for flooring and paint. More

Technology and Retirement

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Last time I talked about staying challenged and mentioned one way that a lot of folks do that.  Writing.  I bet writing is maybe the number one thing that people turn too when looking for a creative outlet.  We all know how to do it, though not all of us well, and it is the most accessible and probably the most expressive way to be creative.  But in the past, writing was something we did for ourselves.  Getting published was a pipe dream at best.  Even if you did get published, it might have been more trouble that it was worth.

Not anymore, however.  I’m published.  See my book over there to the right?  That’s me.  It’s an ebook that I published myself. More

Staying Challenged and Really Enjoying Retirement

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Before my trip to Jamaica I wrote about appreciating retirement.  Taking something for granted tends to cause it to become mundane, boring and even loathed.  I doubt retirees are clamoring to get back to work, but life in general may become less than thrilling if you begin to take your retirement for granted.  It’s important to remember the gift you’ve given yourself, why it’s so much better than the alternative and what opportunities you have before you.

One way of keeping retirement exciting and learning to appreciate it over and over again is to remain challenged.  I’ve called it, as have others, reinventing yourself in retirement.  Retirement in these times when people are retiring younger and living longer is no longer just an event.  Retirement is a process, a lifestyle.  It is no longer enough to leave your job, settle into a routine and wait to die.  With twenty, thirty, even forty years in retirement, there is time to do so much more than sit on the porch and complain about the government. More

Really Retired for a Week!

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The teenagers that allow me to live in their house. At least that's how it feels sometimes ;D

Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that I am retired, but I have teenagers at home.  I ever write a post about it a while back, “Retired with Children: an Oxymoron”.  It’s not the same.  I have a lot more freedom and a lot more free time, but I am still subjected to schedules and demands being a dad that most retirees are not.  I’m not complaining, just making a point.

But two weeks a year I get a little taste of real retirement.  One is in the summer when my wife and the boys head up to 4H camp at Lake Tahoe.  That is more bachelor for a week, however, instead of retirement for a week.  It’s still fun.  I eat well, sleep in late, play the video games and watch movies.  It is grand, even if I do have to take care of the kid’s chores myself.

This week, however, it is only my kids that leave. More

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