December 6, 2013

The Snowball Effect

Regular Phoenix area reader and commenter on Satisfying Retirement, Madeline, recently brought me up to date on the dash to the retirement finish line for her husband and her. After a period of ping-ponging back and forth, plans were finally set in motion to close their business.

Once that key decision had been made, she noticed that the flood gates seemed to suddenly open. As she noted, " ONE BIG CHANGE lead to SO MANY OTHERS. Some of our friends think we are a bit crazed, but we actually are just finally actualizing dreams and plans we made a long time ago but could not pursue till we gave up WORK."

With the freedom that retirement brings, the couple has decided they no longer want to live in the suburbs. After years of enjoying a weekend cabin in a small community a few hours north of Phoenix, they have decided to live there full time, so purchasing a home is added to their list. 

Then, they began to discuss buying a small RV and traveling around the country. While that idea was hatching, they started to explore the idea of volunteering at campgrounds for a month or so at a time.

You get the idea. As Madeline told me, "once you take a leap of faith, it gets easier to change some more!" Like a snowball rolling down a hill, that initial decision picks up speed and size as it plunges downward. It picks up fresh ideas (snow) and grows in size while changing its shape and destination.



credit: http://tanyaeby.com


I think that is an excellent metaphor for what a retirement journey can be: one that starts with an important step and then explodes with opportunities and options, picking up speed and energy as it goes.

The cynics among us may say, yeah, but a snowball crashes when it reaches the bottom and breaks into a million pieces. I'd respond with, true, but what a ride. I'd rather end my life going full throttle toward the unknown than sitting at the top of the hill, too afraid to roll off the edge.

I'd rather think of the avalanche I've created on the way down that hill of retirement. 






14 comments:

  1. Couldn't agree more . The final chapter should be "YEE haw" not ho-hum. Cindy

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    1. I'd rather die while I'm living than live while I'm dead.....Jimmy Buffett has it right.

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  2. Well,Bob, sometimes in life, Ken and I have crashed at the bottom of that hill but you are right--the ride was worth it! Having courage to pursue one's dreams means taking a few risks.I recall back in 1982 when Ken had to go to grad. school..we chose a school in Texas, moved our belongings, child and cats, and after 6 months we said ohhh noooo ..this is not a very good school and we cannot afford to be students in this expensive town!! Well, guess what-- we did not crash and burn, we regrouped, made a new plan, made some new friends along the way as we caravaned to another school in Iowa, where we spent 4 idyllic years! And Ken graduated.

    Now, at retirement, making the FIRST decision took courage and is leading, as you say, to many more.It's a fun (AND scary!!) ride.. and I am sure we will tweak and revise plans as we go along.But being STAGNANT is not a choice! Doing solid research and then following your heart is good advice for most of us, I think..

    Thanks for all your sharing along the way-- wow has it helped me and Ken!!

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    1. I am happy I could give you a few pointers on the way and maybe steered you around a few of the rocks hidden under the snow!

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  3. So true! I want to be sliding into home base with my last breath and a smile on my face! :)

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  4. Very true ! Better to wear out than rust out !

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  5. While certainly true for retirement, this should be a metaphor for ones life, period. I, too, want to be used up at the end - if that means a worn out looking corpse, so be it. Better that than the alternative of drearily living life day by day, scared of the unknown. Everyone have a great weekend.

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    1. Going to the grave with a perfectly maintained body and a full bank account seems like a waste of opportunity. Use it up, push it to the limit, and live.

      Good weekend for you and yours, too, Chuck.

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  6. Apropos of all of this, with having our "new" little house in Vermont (daughter's detached garage turned into a cozy one-bdrm apartment), we have season passes to a local ski slope. I'm getting back to skiing and my wife, at age 68, is starting on the "bunny slope". Nervous we are, but if not now, when?

    BTW, Vermont has to be one of the best states to stay active and involved. We've already begun the hiking, biking, boating, dancing, and music jam "thangs". :)

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    1. Good to hear from you again, Steve. I actually though of your Vermont adventure when I wrote this. Thanks so much for checking in on your situation and telling us of your jumping in with both feet to all the Green Mountain state has to offer.

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  7. I wish we had Banjo Steve and his friends here. Vermont is just a little too cold for my old bones. Just remarked to hubby today that it is hard to find people who will relax and have fun. I want to say "come on everybody, we don't have to impress anymore!". Let's have a little more dancing and jam "thangs".

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