August 9, 2010

My Highest Highs & Lowest Lows Since Retiring

I enjoy reading articles and posts by others that I think will be useful, helpful, or entertaining to me. But, if I don't know much about that person I'm a little hesitant to accept what he or she has to say without wondering about credibility. If that is true for me, it is probably true for you. 

So, I thought it is time to get a bit more personal in some of my upcoming posts. If I share enough, you may decide what I say can apply to you. Frankly, I'm also hoping to generate more comments and on-line discussion with this approach. I'm willing to open up to you. I hope that you will be encouraged to share more with me. 

I'll start by revealing some of my highest highs and lowest lows in the nearly 10 years since I had a full time job. A Satisfying Retirement Lifestyle is the title of the blog, not a Pollyanna description of my life. All of it remains a work in progress. This post will detail some of what I believe to be my highest highs since retiring. Do you see any of yourself in these events?

Highest Highs
  • When my wife and I decided we had enough money to quit working when I was 52 and she was 47.  Like most of our generation we expected to work into our 60s. I owned my own business that made good money and provided several benefits. My spouse was a fabulous preschool teacher who loved the kids and helping them grow. But for reasons I'll detail in an upcoming post on financial thoughts, we were able to pull the plug. We did it for both business and personal motivations. And the feeling once we had committed to that decision was incredible.
  • When our two daughters decided to move back to Phoenix. We had come close a few times to selling our home and moving to San Diego to be near them, our son-in-law, and the grand kids. But, now there was no need. Both girls decided being with family was much more important than cool weather in the summer and the Pacific Ocean. We were overjoyed. Now we had the time to spend with family and suddenly, the opportunity.
  • I finished a travel book I had been working on for 7 years.  A combination of my enjoyment of photography and love of writing prompted me to start a book in 2002 about out-of-the-way places in Arizona. Nearly seven years later I finished it, had it bound, and printed enough copies for family and friends. I almost quit working on it several times. But, my wife and family encouraged me to "just do it."  Now that I can see it sitting on my bookshelf I am proud of the end product and pleased I saw the effort through to the end.
  • I found the spiritual side of my life. Many books on retirement will tell you that as you get older spiritual questions and searches for answers becomes more common. For me, that was both true and a life-altering process. This isn't a religious blog so I'll keep the heavy stuff to myself. But, in 2003 I suddenly understood all the things that hadn't clicked for me before. My understanding of how I fit into the bigger picture became clear to me.
Next post I'll share some of my lowest lows. And, yes, there are some very low lows. In the meantime, I'd encourage your comments.

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  1. As a brand new husband and someone with their proverbial "whole life ahead of me", I am looking forward to discovering these milestones on the journey ahead as well!

  2. It is a great journey, Darren. Even though my wife and I made plenty of mistakes along the way, I would change very little about how it all played out. Experience is the best teacher.

    Enjoy your "brand new husband" status and best of luck to you and your spouse. I really appreciate your taking the time to comment.

  3. One of the best feelings is that moment you decide to retire. I retired four years ago at 55. A great feeling is looking back and knowing that it was the perfect time, not too early or too late. As we are both retired and living as hobby farmers it's important that we are able to enjoy life like before retirement. Some people retire and find that they can't "get along" with each other.

  4. "Looking back and knowing it was the perfect time..." summarizes the feeling very well, Glinka. You are blessed you haven't experienced the problem of two people not getting along with each other once they are together 24/7.

    If you haven't read it yet, I ask that you check out my post under Relationships entitled, Who Is That Person Sitting Beside Me? It deals with the issues of learning to get along with your spouse after retirement. I'd welcome your comments under that section since you have obviously done well.

    Thanks for your input.

  5. Well written and interesting. I look forward to your upcoming posts.

  6. Thanks, RDL. I enjoy writing about and sharing experiences. I am gratified when readers like you take the time to post a comment. I hope I'll see future comments from you!

  7. Good article. I'm still in my high highs (being retired only 4 mos now!) May they never end.. grin!

    I wanted to say you might consider making your Arizona Trips book into an e-book to sell... probably plenty of folks out there looking for the "real thing" in AZ day trips and vacations!

    My site would love to be affiliate #1 for that book. I'm sure website visitors, considering AZ as a retirement location, would be interested.

    Just a thought...

    Best Wishes!


  8. Wendy, congrats on your 4th month anniversary as a retired person! Enjoy the highs. I'd love for you to share the good times you've had so far. Please consider adding them in another comment.

    Your idea for my book is interesting. I'll give it thought. If I do it, you'll get first shot!

  9. I'm a committed retiree. Last December I retired for the second (and last time). I'm a ready, fire, aim kind of guy and the first time it was too much emotion and too little planning. You seem to have been more analytical - and it appears successful. I like the stories as a way to get a sense of who is the man behind the blog. I also like getting the thoughts from other retirees who are not just drifting and settling for.

  10. First of all, nice blue truck on your blog, Ralph! Looks cherry. I'm interested...when you went back to work was it in the same field or did you do something different?

    I wish you total success this time around! I am a make-a-list sort of guy and I still stumbled around for a time. But, it has turned out well.

  11. Bob.
    Not my truck but we did have a green one just like it when I was a kid. I went back to my old work the second time. Used to be a one-trick pony.

  12. Paul Simon had a hit record about a one-trick pony, so it must be a good thing. I choose the field that interested me at age 12 and stuck with it until 52. That was either dedication or lack of imagination!

    Thanks, Ralph