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.

 

Back and Ready to Blog!

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What a summer!  Not what I expected, but still fun.  My wife had her gall bladder out.  My back continues to hurt and I’m seeing  surgeon tomorrow.  On the good side, I published a couple of books, one is there to the right, we took the kids on a nice trip to Monterey, CA and we had a nice garden.  It was a lazy summer, mainly because my back hurts (really it’s my leg due to a herniated disk) and my wife’s liver is still healing and hurt.  We didn’t even set up the pool.

I had hoped to be inspired to take the blog in a new direction, but I wasn’t.  I’m not sure what to do.  I’ve sort of run out of retirement advice and I’m still in this finish raising the kids do we can really retire mode.  That doesn’t’ mean I’m not enjoying my retirement.  I suppose it will be like this.  Sometimes health issues and circumstances will slow you down.  Other times you’ll be going full bore.  While taking care of my father in laws estate, my wife and I were fond of saying, “It is what it is.”

After tomorrow, I should have an update on my other blog about my back (click the banner to the right or click here).  I hope to have surgery sooner rather than later and get back out there and doing things.  I don’t mind sitting here writing, but I’d love to get back on the water fishing, out playing with my cameras and generally being active again.  I’m going to have to do some serious thinking on where to take the blog.  If you have any ideas, let me know.

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

Appreciating Retirement and a Short Hiatus

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It is human nature to adapt.  It’s why we are the most successful species on the planet.  Well, that and opposable thumbs.  This penchant for adaptation has its downside, however.  No matter how exciting, thrilling or exhilarating something is today, tomorrow it will be just so-so.  Sex is, I think, the greatest example of all.  Sex is fantastic.  But doing it with the same person for 20 years gets old.  Next thing you know your having an affair or shopping at Adam and Eve to spice things up.  By the way, the latter is the preferred method, though unfortunately not the most popular.

Retirement is the same.  How many years do you spend in your cubicle, or whatever special work place prison your career favors, dreaming of the day you can retire and do whatever it is you want.  Then two years into retirement, you can’t remember why it seemed so great back then.  In fact, it’s kind of boring.  Well, there it is.  Adaptation.  Everything eventually becomes normal and boring. More

Retirement Doesn’t Guarantee Happiness

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Life is full of wonder. Retirement is an opportunity to discover all that this world has to offer. This was taken in Myrtle Beach, SC.

I’ve seen some people latelyask questions like, “Is retirement a let down?” on retirement forums.  Strange question considering you are essentially trading a job and a steady paycheck for no job and a steady paycheck.  On the other hand, I suppose if you expect retirement to solve all the problems in your life, it can be a let down.

You’ve probably seen those couples that fight and argue and just don’t seem to be a good fit, but they decide that getting married or having a baby will fix everything.  It won’t, by the way.  Retirement is the same.  If  you’re depressed, in a bad marriage, unhealthy, etc., retirement isn’t going to make that stuff better.  It might even make it worse. More

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