Books on Retirement Living….

Yeah, I’m probably pretty typical of a retiree in that I have read several books on what to do in my retirement years. To be quite frank none of them have been terribly useful to me! But that does not mean they were not worth reading. They did incite me to think about various things. Most retirement books are pretty generic: Get a hobby, enjoy the simple things, adjust your spending…. But there are tidbits of useful information out there. Just don’t expect a paradigm shift as a result of reading a retirement book.

One of the things that retirement books seem to emphasize is to stay healthy. As if I really had a choice in that regard. Yes, I do go to the YMCA three or so times a week. But most of my health problems are related to past life choices not the ones in my retirement years. So, as far as I am concerned that is a horse already out of the barn (if you understand rural analogies that is). I live with the health I have. I don’t really have much choice in that matter now. Of course “good health” is really a relative thing.

Another thing the books do emphasize is to stay busy. I certainly agree with that. But I think it is up to each of us to determine how best to do that. I don’t think anyone can really learn how to do that from a book. I enjoy writing and journal keeping so blogging was a nature for me. I also firmly believe I should show compassion for others so volunteering my time in this area was also a natural. I enjoy U.S. history so traveling around the country is also my thing.

It is up to each of us to sit down and decide what are your priorities in your retirement years and then make it happen. Sitting back and doing nothing should not be an option as it would be a very dangerous one. The only thing I would advise is to be sure you get outside of yourself. Look for opportunities where you can help others with your available time. I guarantee those will be the most rewarding moments of your retirement years. Concentrate on others not yourself.

The picture here is of one of my signature country cabinets I made for several customers in my semi-retirement years. Building cabinets and furniture was very enjoyble but after six full years of doing it, it was getting a little boring! That is one nice thing about retirement, you can shift gears whenever you want. After six years I packed up my woodworking tools and moved on to other things.

Don’t get me wrong, I have found my retirement years to be some of the most enjoyable of my life.

And the journey goes on..

Community Service…

One of the biggest walls I faced as I entered retirement was what am I going to spend my time on now that I seem to have so much!  Suddenly not going into my usual eleven hour a day job in the corporate world was traumatizing indeed.  I spent a lot of time flopping around like a fish suddenly pulled out of the pond. It took me some time to finally get the nerve up to try some community service activity.  I was somewhat apprehensive as I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  Like usual I procrastinated for several months before I took the leap. I must tell you that those were wasted months. Once I got involved in community service there was no turning back. I was hooked.

Community service is generally thought of as committing some of our time to helping groups who help the needy. Fortunately the U.S. has been known as a country that, at least up until maybe recently, feels obliged to help the poor, widows and orphans (as they used to say). The Christian and Islamic Bibles also tell us this is our duty but I am afraid that even many people who follow these doctrines don’t often follow through on what their foundational principles espouse.

We all like to complain about all the money that our government spends on what is called welfare. But, in my mind this is generally just doing what many private organizations are supposed to do but don’t. It is regretful that we push so much of this duty onto our government agencies. Government is supposed to do the people’s business so I guess if the people don’t do it government must step in and do it in our place.

Everyone, and especially those who are retired should be giving at the very least a handful of hours each month to organizations that help the poor and down trodden. If everyone did their part we would not have to rely so much on our government to do it for us. From personal experience I can tell you that doing this will greatly add meaning to your life. Besides doing what God tells you to do you are also taking the burden off our government and therefore our taxes. But let’s not put all the community service opportunities on those retired. If everyone would just give up an occasional golf/football/baseball/basketball/etc outing and instead do some community service it would benefit everyone including you. Quit worrying about yourself and get off your duff and help others.

I will leave it to another post to give you the details of where I have served in the ten years since my retirement.

And the journey goes on…

Retirement Living…

One thing I haven’t mentioned yet about this blog is that it will be much about retirement living. Yeah, I know you are saying “You are in retirement and still don’t know what you want to do when you grow up?” Well, that is just who I am I guess! I retired, or I could say I was retired, from the corporate world ten years ago by a down sizing. I think the Hong Kong company that bought our corporate division just wanted to get rid of all the higher paid old people and I was included in that group. I must say that at that time I already had my thirty years in the corporate world so I welcomed the layoff money and the full pension that followed. But that is a story for another time.

When I was downsized I decided move back from the East coast to my roots in the Midwest and open my own cabinet/furniture making shop. That lasted with some degree of success for about six years. I have been in the full retirement mode for the last four years. Switching from a sixty hour a week corporate job to retirement is quite a transition! I handled it, or should I say I muddled through it, as I expect many people do. There was a lot of anxiety, many things I was just not prepared for, and some successes. I will be going into much more details about all this in the posts in the coming months. It has been quite a journey but I think much is still ahead. I am pretty well settled in my life now but I still have a lot of antsy moments so am constantly seeking changes.

The picture above was one of my signature items when I was fabricating furniture. I designed and built it over twenty years ago for my wife. It was quite a successful item in my product line.

And the journey goes on….