Seeking A Joyous Journey – Rule #1

Before we get too far in our study in seeking a joyous journey in our lives I think it is critical that we define the primary rule for this task.

You Alone Define What What Makes Your Joyous Journey.

Speaking as bluntly as possible, don’t look for someone else do that task for you. Even though there are billions of us occupying this planet, all of us are unique individuals. While seeking the wisdom of others is an important step in this process, it is up to you to find your own path. No one else can do that for you. What gives one person joy might just be another’s stifling life. Copying someone else’s joyful journey might be easy but it is not really fulfilling.

For some of us having a joyous life is centered around getting married and having kids. For others, it is about dedicating our lives to a particular calling. For some it is about making money, and for others it is about making a difference in this world. Joyful Journeys are in the eyes of the beholder and that is as it should and must be.

Deciding what makes a joyous journey is often not a one-time thing. Let me emphasize again, there is a difference between joy and happiness. Happiness is a shortlived whereas joy is a way of living. Joy is what gets you jumping out of bed to face each day. Major stages of life such as our education years, our employment years, and our retirement years often mean shifting gears to find a new path on your joyous journey.

The sooner you define what your joyous journey is about the sooner you will find true happiness in life. Unfortunately, most of us don’t do the work early enough in life, me included. We just “go with the flow” so to speak and rationalize that we can find joy later. In some ways I never seriously thought about what would make my life joyous until I was in the retirement years. Now don’t get me wrong, it is never too late to find your personal vision for a joyous journey, it’s just that when we put it off we are losing opportunities to fully live our lives.

In closing, you need to do the work in discovering who you are or maybe who you want to be. As long as it is not illegal or what might inhibit others from accomplishing their joyous journey, everything is no the table. If you decide you want to be a lifelong couch potato that is your right, although I would strongly advise on a more enthusiastic path. 🙂

Seeking a Joyous Journey Rule No 11 – Don’t Get Hung Up On Stuff…

Capitalism in America demands that we buy more and more stuff each year. Without that insatiable drive we simply couldn’t grow as a society today. I think that needs to be basically changed to match the successes of the rest of the world. Instead of requiring us to buy more this year that last, maybe we should spend it on our infrastructure or, here’s a wild thought, maybe making healthcare a right instead of a privilege! Ok, enought soapboxing for now, let’s get back to the point of this post.

In my day, we didn’t have massive closets of clothes. I don’t think the walk-in closet was even invented until the Reagan 80’s. 🙂 It seems today that even most young teenagers could now fill an eight foot closet with their wardrobes. I could carry all my clothing in a single normal size suitcase even after I graduated from college. I just didn’t see the need to have more than a half dozen changes of clothes, as I thought even that was extravagant. The 1927 farmhouse that we renovated two decades ago had closets about two feet wide!

In that regard, here is my next Joyous Journey rule to live by:

Rule#11 – Don’t get hung up on your stuff.

Some people think that having a joyous life means you have all the stuff you could ever dream about. To me, it is just the opposite. The less stuff you have the more joyous I seem to be. Trying to keep up with the latest Madison Ave trends is just not worth it. It is ridiculous that they are now selling jeans that are threadbare and have holes in places. In my mind it is better to just wear out the ones you already have instead of plucking down $50+ for pre-worn ones. One of my active projects this summer is to wean down my four foot closet space down to three or less. Anything I haven’t worn in the last two years goes to GoodWill.

We live in houses that our ancestors would never have dreamed of owning. It seems that the requirement today is 1,000 square feet per each person in the household. When our current house was built almost a hundred years ago less than 800 sq ft and we know that a family of six occupied that space in the 1950s. It is heartening to see that many young people today are joining the “tiny house” movement. They comfortably live in less than 400 sq ft of living space.

Before I go, I have to admit to you that I am not entirely innocent when it comes to stuff. I have a couple of previous Mac computers stored away along with at least three iPads and an older Apple watch. I could have lived with the older ones, but the new features available on the latest models lure me in. So, in that regard I need to practice what I preach I guess?

Seeking a Joyous Journey – When Panic Set In

I’m going to start this post out with all you newbie retirees or soon to be retirees in mind but then finish it ups with some insights I have found for all us old-timers as well. I aim to cover the whole spectrum during my “seeking a joyous journey” project. 🙂

I don’t claim to be an expert with all this stuff, but I have read a few dozen books on the topic and see that my circumstances are not a lot different from many others. But then again, I have found that like most every other thing in life, one size does not fit all.

I know when I retired, near panic immediately set in when I fully realized that I was totally unprepared for what was ahead of me. The days before I was downsized I was working 50+ hours a week and along with the travel time to and from work that stretched out to about 60 hours dedicated to my job. Quickly I realized that I had no idea on what I was going to do with those emancipated hours. I can only sit on the deck and drink beer for so for so many hours a day. 🙂

In my job I lead a small team of IT developers in building tools (they are called apps today) for 100+ engineers. It was a lot of responsibility. I then realized that now that I am “retired” about the only person I would see each day was my wife, and she doesn’t seem to think I know much of anything, so panic started to creep in almost immediately in that respect also.

I was a lifelong planner with NO plans. That thought almost took my breath away.

For the first time in longer than I can remember, I was free to do pretty much anything I wanted. I’ll leave the details of that period for another post, but suffice it to say I managed to trog myself through. It was not elegant but at least it ended well.


Now to move on to recent panics. I left the corporate world in the Spring of 2000. so it has been closing on 20 years now since those initial panic days. Of course, there have been others along the way but now it seems another panic stage is upon me.

I am getting to that stage where I am forgetting more and more of the simple details of life. I seem to frequently leave restaurants and leave my coat on the back of the chair. That just happened again two days ago while I was on my twenty-fourth micro-RV adventure in Toledo Ohio. It was not until I got outside in the drizzle that I remembered. Things like this just seem to be happening more frequently now.

Due to my deafness I have always had a balance problem but that too is getting magnified. These types of things tell me that I am entering another potential melt-down faze that needs to be addressed. How will I cope with the loss of freedom and mobility that this stage will entail? That is the topic at hand for me right now. The first thing I need to do is to again, just breathe and work it out. Keep a positive attitude and accept the coming challenges.

How about you? How are you coping with the changes that come with old-age?

A Joyous Journey Is About Coping

Having a joyous journey doesn’t mean your life is obstacle free.

In fact, it is more likely the opposite. I know I, and I suspect many other seniors, get depressed when we visit a typical retirement blog on the internet. Almost all of them are about the great time the blogger has experienced. They travel to many foreign places and tell you how mystical they are. They tell you about how strong and supportive their families are. They often bring up their spouses as those who support and agree with them 100%. Life is just great! Life is joyous!

How come it is not so great for some of us!

  • Are we abject failures when it comes to having a joyous retirement?
  • How come our daily focus seem to be about the aches and pains of old age?
  • How come we can no longer sprint a mile at a time when all those bloggers around seem to do it everyday?
  • Am I the only one with bad hips and knees?
  • Why do my spouse and I disagree on almost anything?

I realize that often the same thing happens with our social media accounts. Our Facebook friends don’t seem to have a unpleasant moment. Instagram is full of pictures of people smiling and enjoying life. Life couldn’t be better, especially for us in our senior years. How depressing it that?

I see that suicide and depression are running rampant today and I think much of it comes from how we how perceive the world around us. I am going to put on my old person hat now and tell you that much of my early life was spent in serious poverty but I just didn’t know it. We ate meat only a couple of times a week as we could not afford it more often. The rest of the week was generally mac and cheese or spaghetti. My total wardrobe could fit in less than 12 inches of closet space. The thing about it was that

I thought most everyone else lived as I did.

I just didn’t have much to compare my life to. Today, via social media, we are surrounded by words, pictures, tweets and such that appear to be very different from our circumstances. We can’t help but know that we are poor, not particularly good looking, and without much money, and probably not many “friends”. It is driven into us daily by our social media feeds.

Getting back to the story as hand, yes, it’s nice to see that others can travel the world with little concern for resources or health issues. We can at least on some level enjoy the experience through their stories. But…

My “Joyous Journey” special project here on RJsCorner is not going to be about typical retirement blog topics. I will to show you that despite our troubles in life with mobility, health, resources, spousal disagreements, and such, we can be joyous if we keep the right perspectives. I am going to give you stories about how I now stumble when trying to get up from a squat, sometimes to the verge of falling. I’m going to tell you about some of the many places where my wife and I see the world very differently now. I will sometimes tell you about the good times but I will also tell you about my typical times and how I cope with them. In the end, life is about coping. No matter whether we admit it or not, none of us can escape the aches and pains of old age. It eventually creeps up on all of us. I kinda see it as you gotta have the bad times in order to fully appreciate the good times. As part of my 10 Pillars, I want to assure you that you are not the only one who has troubles in their senior years but that doesn’t keep us from having a joyous journey.

Adversity builds character but it also can build a Joyous Journey in our retirement years, if we just let it.

Seeking a Joyous Journey – “Seeking”

For this joyous journey post I am going to tell you another secret. I know I might be getting myself in trouble here giving you all my secrets too early and not have more to share later. But personally I don’t think that will ever happen. 🙂

I suspect that at least 95% of you are totally unaware of the tweaking I have been doing to the “Joyous Journey” project. I think I finally have the title in the header above where I want it. The word that I was seeking all long was in fact the word “Seeking”. That perfectly caps off my way I am approaching the subject of having a joyous journey during these retirement years.

Forgive me but I want to go off on a little tangent here to make my point. There are some brands of Christianity, maybe more that I fully realize that believe that Christianity is a very passive religion. I know, I was in one of them for more years than I want to realize. Their version of Christianity goes something like this: All you have to do is proclaim the right words and your getting to heaven is guaranteed. Just say the words which start off with “I believe…” and then go on with your life as you please. Then when you die you are automatically ushered to heaven.

I can’t tell you how wrong I think that practice is. Christianity is very much a active thing. You must take to heart the words of Jesus, and then spend every day of the rest or your life trying to put them into daily practice. Some days you might just succeed and other you might fail miserably, but you MUST keep trying.

Finally, getting back to the point of this post, having a joyous journey through life, especially in our senior years, means you are constantly seeking what gives you joy and discarding what doesn’t. You will never have a joyous journey any time in your life if you just sit back and wait for it to come to you. Doing nothing is an absolute guarantee that your joyous life will never happen. You will also never have a joyous journey if you make that goal all about you.

I can certainly attest that most of my joyous time in my senior years occured while I was serving others and I mean that quite literally. I spent eleven years of my retirement life volunteering at a local soup kitchen preparing and serving meals to those less fortunate than me. The friends I made there gave me a very joyous life.

You can’t just sit back and wait for a joyous life, you must continually seek it out.

Joyous Journey Rule #8 – Take the Dark Side In Small Doses

The dark side of life is kind of like a black hole, or maybe a Venus fly trap, it can suck you into its depths. and won’t let you go. If that happens there is no way for you to even fully dream of a joyous life.

I must admit that much of the news from the world today is “dark side material”. Especially when it comes to politics. There just seems to be nothing good happening there recently.

We shouldn’t drop out entirely from our political processes, but instead we need to take them in small doses. Kinda like a drone level view. But one thing we do HAVE to do is to turn out on Election Day 2020 to have our collective say on who we want to lead our country, and maybe secondarily how long we want it to survive.

Rule #8 – Take The Dark Side in Small Doses.

Seeking a Joyous Journey – Find Something

I’m going to let you in on my secret of life.  It has taken me seven decades of continuous searching to discover this secret.

Find something you might enjoy and then do it.

But maybe the real secret is to find the things you don’t enjoy and get rid of them as soon as possible. Personally looking at the back end of the process, I have found that the most freeing time in life starts with your retirement from the working world. This is a time you are no longer shackled to that 9 – 5 job. You can do whatever you want. Don’t spend too much of it in procrastinating indecision. If you don’t know what you want just pick something and if that doesn’t work out then throw it away and try something else.


I have been retired from the corporate world almost twenty years now and I have tried scores of things that I thought might give me joy. I have settled on a half dozen or so that indeed make me jump out of bed in the morning, at least when my back and knees let me, to tackle each day! One of those things is, of course, RJsCorner. I can’t wait to browse the Internet each morning for things that catch my attention and might also be of interest to you. I can’t wait tohave my say about them. I can’t wait to give you some of the lessons I have learned in life.

But, RJsCorner it not my entire life. If I were to suddenly lose interest, which I can’t imagine doing right now, I could fill up the time I spend here with other things that also give me joy. Never get stuck in thinking that you have no options.

Seeking a Joyous Journey – It’s Never Too Late

I want to let you in on one of my dark secrets I have learned in life and that is, I waited way too long before I sought, or even realized, what a joyous journey could be like. Some people, and I am totally envious of them, figure it out much earlier than I did.

I went through much of my life afraid of change. Out of college, I thought I had a good job that provided me with the security I thought I needed. But in reality that was a cop out. While I didn’t hate my job I really didn’t get much pleasure or even satisfaction from it. It would be over twenty years into my thirty year corporate journey until I finally did things I really enjoyed doing. Even the change that caused this joyfulness to happen was really forced on me due to circumstances of my going deaf.

Due to my Aspie traits, I just didn’t have the understanding, or maybe it was just courage to manage much of a social life. A few dates came and went, but for the most part my single life was just that, single. I was just too awkward in one-on-one communications to hold onto many lasting friends.

It was not until I retired from the corporate world at the age of fifty-four that the idea of joy captured me, or maybe it was more like, “now what do I do?”panic. I, like so many others based my life on my work-world and when that was gone, I was numb to the possibilities without that label.

Eventually, it dawned on me that I could do just about anything I wanted. My cautious but boring life before allowed me to save enough and that along with my pension and social security freed me from having to choose something just to make money.

To close this post off, it is never too late to go on new adventures that make your life joyful. Yeah, I had a lot of missed opportunities in earlier stages of my life, but I believe I am finally finding the joy that I should have sought much earlier. And now that I have it, I intend to hold on to it!

It’s Never Too Late To Seek A Joyous Journey.