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.

Seeking a Joyous Journey – The Secret To It All

I know most writers save their ultimate secrets until the end of the story. But, if you haven’t figured it out by now, I am different. I am going to give you the ultimate secret to life right now. 😉

Always Open Your Mind To Different Possibilities.

To me, being closed minded is the ultimate in stupidity. Yes, I realize that many of us are just too fearful to think there might be another way to live our lives. For some, it just takes a giant leap to actually make changes. I could say those people are in a rut, but I really think it comes down to courage to face today and tomorrow with hope instead of despair. That is a very hard thing for some to do.

I don’t care what you might say, none of us has a lock on life! We are all just playing it by ear as each year passed. Mostly we make mistakes, but sometimes we also do something right. We should pay attention to those “right” times to try to learn lessons from them for the challenging event.

Unfortunately, most of us instead concentrate on the stuff we screwed up and that teaches us not to take risks. Risks can result in failure and that is something we want to avoid to a paranoid degree. We learn from our mistakes so as to maybe do it right the next time. We don’t stagnate on an event in our past and live it for the rest of our lives. There are other possibilities that will result in a more joyous life.

When I see men of my generation still living the Vietnam war of more than 50 years ago, I shutter at a wasted life that is stuck in the past. But, it seems we make more guys, and now gals, like this with each of the wars we inevitably get ourselves into. When will we ever learn? Wasted lives due to unnecessary traumatic experiences is a true tragedy of my generation.

When I see so many senior citizens and even those younger think that it is better to try to bring back the past rather than to do something to make America better for tomorrow, I see helplessness. By their inordinate fear of the future they have put a heavy burden on their children and grandchildren to fix what our generation won’t.

The secret I gave you above is similar to one of my ten pillars of life.

Embrace Change

That is the way we move forward as people, communities, and nations. Whether you believe it or not, we are all in this together and we need to look out for each other, instead of considering almost everyone different from our, an enemy.

Seeking a Joyous Journey -Rules

I am one of the many people who regularly watch NCIS on TV. There are so many NCIS’s now that I guess I need to expand that sentence. I’m talking about the one with Leroy Jethro Gibbs. One of the things I like about him is his rules. I don’t know how many rules he has, but his team seems to know them all.

When I was trying to find a format for this new project of RJsCorner I thought of Jethro and his rules, so I thought I would start my set of rules on having a joyous life in my senior years. 😉

If you have any suggestions on what to add, I am open to them.


In investigating sources for posts, I have come across more than I ever imagined. I think this topic could go on forever (ha). One of the top sources is a guy named Ernie Zelinski. He has written several books on the topic of finding joy in your life. He definitely knows how to enjoy life.

One is entitled

The Joy of Not Working: A Book for the Retired, Unemployed, and Overworked — 21st Century.

Another is

How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free: Retirement Wisdom That You Won’t Get from Your Financial Advisor.

As we go thorough this new series I’m sure you will come to appreciate Ernie as much as I do.


Let’s finish up this boring preparatory work by telling you I am giving each post in this topic a unique number. Since I hope to build up the joyful story one brick at a time, numbering the post will make them easier to refer to them in the future.

Next time I am going to give you the main secret to what I think allows us to accomplish a joyous journey in our lives. I know giving my secret out at the front end of the story is pretty unusual, but since I plan on referring to it many times to reinforce what I will be talking about, it just makes sense.