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.

Taking Stock

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I'm going to Disneyland! Yes, yes, that's California Adventure, but you get the idea!

Welcome back and Happy New Year!  This is up today, New Year’s, because I will be in Disneyland the first week of the year.  After I get back I will be posting weekly, most weeks anyway.  Maybe more often now and then.

This post is about taking stock.  It’s something we should all do once in a while.  You might call it something different and it may take different forms, but essentially its just an assessment of your life.  Where you’re going, where you’ve been and what you’ve come to enjoy and what you no longer do.  Think of it as a kind of spring cleaning. More

Staying Busy

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This is the manuscript that's been responsible for keeping me busy of late.

I’m really neglecting this blog lately.  Just been really busy.  High school football, junior high basketball, a golf trip, Mexico last month.  Besides all that I’ve been writing a lot, just not post for my blogs.  I’m making edits on my first book and I’ve been working another project too.  A couple of weeks ago, I spent like 20 hours over the course of two days writing.  My shoulders were sore from hunching over the keyboard.

Now, I’m sure a lot of my working friends that read this are thinking, “Life must be rough,” or something like that.  Some of my retired followers are wondering why I’m not relaxing more.  Honestly, I am enjoying the heck out of writing.  It’s something I wanted to do when I retired, but it took over a year to really feel like a writer. More

Little Adventures

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Jen at a little lake near Fallen Leaf Lake in the Lake Tahoe basin. We took this little trip last fall and also went to Taylor Creek to see the spawning salmon.

My wife, Jen, and I have a little ritual we call “weekday adventures”.  Since Jen works at home part-time, we have the freedom to get out of the house and do things.  However, since we have teenager boys we can’t really travel on a whim.  We have to be home in the evenings and cook dinner and make sure home work gets done, so we go out during the day on these little adventures.

We’ve gone for a drive in the mountains, gone bowling, seen a movie, for instance.  Due to the illness and death of Jen’s dad last winter we kind of got out of the habit, but we’re getting back into it.  Until we can get the kids out of the house and start our planned retirement lifestyle, these little day trips, along with our all to infrequent travel, will have to do. More

A Change in Direction

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See how much more pleasant the whole blog reading experience is with pictures? Of course, this picture has nothing to do with the post but whatever!

This post is more housekeeping than anything.  I have been retired for well over a year.  I’ve been blogging about it for over a year and a half.  I’ve said a lot and I’ve changed over that time.  Lately, I feel like some of my posts are just stating things I’ve already written in a different way or from a slightly different point of view.

To avoid having the blog become stale, I want to change my perspective a little.  I want to focus more on the actual retirement lifestyle rather than the planning and transition into that lifestyle.  I am past that phase for the most part and I’ve really said the majority of what I have to say on that anyway.  I will likely continue to post about the planning and transition, but less and less often.  It can be good to restate things in a different way, but only to a point. More

A Little Trip to Myrtle Beach

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I belong to a cigar forum and some of the members discussed getting together and meeting.  A date and place, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, were chosen and I used a free Southwest Airlines ticket to book a flight and also booked a rental car and room.  Jen and I wanted to travel somewhere together this fall anyway, so I also booked a ticket for her too.  Unfortunately, the cigar gathering feel apart but we already had the tickets, so even though flying across the country would not have been our first choice, we were going regardless.

Our friends, Jeff and Jenny and their kids.

Since this a retirement blog and not a travel blog I will try and write this from a retirement perspective.  First off, we had to fly into Raleigh, North Carolina More

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