December 10, 2019

To Everything There Is A Season

Sunsets must follow sunrises

After roughly 3,500 days of writing about retirement I'm pretty sure I have discussed, explained, validated, and probed the topic as much as anyone.

After nearly 3.5 million views of this blog, the message of what makes a satisfying retirement has been read by a lot of people.

After 24,000 comments have been posted and a few thousand spam-like ones have been deleted , a community has been established that is respectful, engaged, and eager to share.


All these statistics add up to one conclusion: Satisfying Retirement has had a good run. When I retired in 2001 I found very little that spoke to me about all aspects of what I was about to face. That led to the decision to try to fill a void in non-financial-oriented retirement information. This blog was launched in June of 2010. I had no idea what would happen. 


To say I have been pleasantly surprised and pleased would be an understatement. Friendships, dear and important to me, have been formed. Interactions with readers from over a dozen different countries have enriched my life and broadened my understanding of the human condition. We have been through a lot together and I m a better person because of our shared time.

All this bring me to a necessary conclusion: change is constant. Evolution is ongoing. At some point a new direction must be pursued and new challenges accepted. At some point all wells begin to run dry; then it is time to drill a new one. To everything there is a season.


I am making some changes to Satisfying Retirement. I feel my take on just this one subject needs broadening. What I am doing is expanding the focus from just the nuts and bolts of retirement to include some of the issues I feel passionate about, things that this retired person has the time and maybe even the responsibility to address.

What exactly? Well things like climate change, racial tensions, gender equality, and income inequality would make that list. My recent spiritual journey that has meant important adjustments to a lifetime of beliefs seems likely. These topics will be interspersed with retirement-oriented topics that continue to be important and generate solid feedback. 

Politics? Occasionally, but infrequently. There is plenty of that from other places, and it tends to generate more heat than light. Even so, there will be times when something going on in that sphere compels me to speak out.

To write about subjects that aren't strictly retirement-oriented I must be prepared to endure some comments that maybe less "pleasant"  than what this blog has generated. I will need a thicker skin and a double dose of patience. Convictions and feeling can be strong when these topics are discussed.

At the same time I must be open to learning from reasonable arguments and positions that differ from mine. It would be wonderful if the type of active, involved community of readers I have been privileged to experience continues even with some different topics. I certainly will encourage respectful diversity. 


Also, we have all worked too hard together for me to want to abandon the Satisfying Retirement name to someone who won't treat it well. I just feel the need to take it in a wider direction under the same brand name.

You have been a big part of my (and Betty's) life since 2010. I sincerely hope you will join me as I continue on a new, somewhat wider path.







69 comments:

  1. Bob, your blog has helped countless people enjoy a satisfying retirement. It should do the same for you. Following your heart and your passions will enrich your life and, as a result, the lives of those around you. Enjoy this next phase of creativity and purpose!

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    1. Thank you, Mary. I wast to wander a bit out of the strict retirement box where I have lived for the past 9 years, without becoming too polarizing or disruptive. More can be accomplished with dialogue than yelling or pontificating.

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  2. I look forward to journeying with you down the wider path. It has been a pleasure since I started following your blog in early 2018.

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    1. Thanks for the kind words. I am looking forward to some new subjects that are part of my retired life but aren't really defined by that fact.

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  3. Your blog has been such an enlightening and enjoyable part of my life. With my ever increasing diminished ability to focus, Satisfying Retirement is written in such a way that always held my attention and became second in line to my other favorite read, God's Word. I'd say that puts you in a very good position! Thank you kindly for your efforts and all the good work you do!

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    1. Your comment is representative of why I find blogging still to be a creative joy. I have met so many people who are both supportive and find my thoughts helpful that it would leave a gap in me if I shut things down.

      I have a post in a week or so about my spiritual journey's change in direction, which has led to a more inclusive and deeper understanding. I do write about the Bible and how I am seeing it now. I hope you will find what I have to say worth reading and even reacting to.

      I will "tease" that post just a bit by saying my spiritual life has become deeper, more real, and much more engaging since I have undertaken this study.

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  4. Bring it on!

    I was so afraid you were writing to say that the blog was ending. I look forward to your perspective and hope others can be respectful of your words.

    (PS. First time commenter, long time lurker)

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    1. Thanks for coming forward! I love lurkers since they make up 95% of my readers, but really enjoy when someone feels strongly enough about something to respond. That is when conversations begin.

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  5. People evolve and change over time, blogs can and do too. I look forward to the changes you have planned.

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    1. Giving myself permission to not have every post tied directly to retirement is both exciting and a little scary. Together, we will find out where this path leads.

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  6. Good for you Bob. I look forward to you branching out on a wider range of subjects. Pretty much all the comments I have read on your previous posts have been civil and accommodating (unless you are deleting many in the background). Hopefully that trend will continue as you tackle new subject material.

    Derek

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    1. I have been very lucky. The number of spam comments or hateful rhetoric have been few and far between, maybe 3 or 4 a week. I hope that doesn't change, though I am prepared for a more spirited exchange on some subjects. If I am forced to go to full moderation before any comments are posted I will not be a happy camper!

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  7. Hi Bob! Surely the very best part of a "satisfying retirement" is the ability to speak and write what is on your mind and in your heart ?I'm guessing the vast majority of your readers, like me, will continue to stop in and read your words as much as they can going forward as long as you continue to stay true to yourself. We don't always have to agree to be friends right? I'm looking forward to seeing where this new decision leads you. ~Kathy

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    1. I really don't know where I will wander, either. I want to avoid politics in most cases, just because there is too much of that already. I feel very strongly about where the country is heading at the moment and may be "forced" to take a stand at some point. But, those type of posts really bring out the worst in too many people. Rationally discussing differences has become an "us versus them" battle...one I don't want to provoke.

      The issues that affect our lives, though, are fair game. That will include health care, Social Security, ageism, and other topics that affect all of us at some point in our lives.

      Just to be clear, though, it is likely every other post will still deal with a subject that is retirement-centered. That is the primary focus and will remain so.

      Welcome to the journey with me, Kathy.

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  8. Kudos to you! Only thoughtful and compassionate voices of experience can lead us through the confusions and challenges of these (sometimes too) "interesting times".

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    1. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." Dickens named it hundreds of years ago.

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  9. Wow, how exciting! I love this idea and look forward to reading more.

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  10. Good for you, Bob, for doing what you feel is necessary to stay fresh and interested. It's perfectly understandable after as long as you've been at it. I will absolutely continue to come along for the ride, and I am thankful to you for allowing us to provide our input on the way. As one of your international readers, it is always interesting to read (and provide) different perspectives.

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    1. The Canadian point of view to some of our unique American issues is always most welcome. We learn from our friends.

      I know enough to understand your country faces its own challenges in dealing with its native population, separatists, and relationships with America. I would never presume to comment on what happens north of the border, but you can!

      Thanks, Dave.

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  11. Sounds like a great idea to me! Go for it!

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    1. It will be fun to determine what "it" turns out to be.

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  12. It must be a 'time issue' because, I have almost left my blog this year. It's partly due to finishing the memoir, and after that it's dealing with what's become of our country. The latter part of that is what makes my blood boil. So, I've backed off writing/ ranting for a while. I still keep the faith in our country and, pray for sanity in what seems like an insane asylum. I'm looking forward to your adjustments. xob

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    1. I am keeping the faith, too, though it gets harder every day.

      The best to you and Dave this holiday season and in 2020. We will stick together!

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  13. I really look forward to discussions about things that effect and affect our lives. Many of us are part of the reason we are in some of these messes. It will be good to attempt to come up with some good solutions and implement them!
    My writing teacher used to say,
    "It is a journey, not a destination".

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    1. I ask you, and everyone else, to occasionally suggest issues that you'd like to see discussed on these pages. I have ideas, but input is welcome!

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  14. Change is good and I look forward to reading your more wide ranging posts.

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  15. Hi Bob. I wanted to wait a while to see what others would say. You do have a very loyal audience. I have reading your blog for longer than I can even remember.

    As you say, branching out into a broader field is both exciting and scary. You need to come up with another title/sub-title for your blog but keeping the pure-retirement stuff still very visible. Sorry, but "My View Of The World" is already taken (ha).

    I look forward to all that you have to contribute in your new direction.

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    1. Thanks, RJ. You are a continuing inspiration to me. You take few prisoners and write from the heart.

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    1. That's the goal, and keep it interesting and helpful.

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  17. Well, I just found this, so I have not read much yet.

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  18. I retired less than a year ago and really love your blog. I will be with you on the continuing road. I am only sorry that I have missed the earlier years.

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    1. There are 9+ years of older posts available by clicking each year on the left sidebar...if you really have a lot of free time!

      Welcome, Lena.

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  19. Let's see Bob, you retired in 2001 and yet you continue to grow, evolve and find ways to educate others. No wonder I have such a hard time with the word retired because you are anything but. Look forward to see what you come up with!

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    1. Thanks, Mike. Yes, that has been the point of this blog. Retirement is a continuing journey of self-exploration and growth. Just because we stop working doesn't mean we stop being interested and involved in the world around us. I need to reflect that reality more in my writing.

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  20. I’m disappointed that you have decided to use your blog on the topic of “satisfying retirement” as a forum to voice your personal political and spiritual opinions.

    I have enjoyed and benefited from your thoughtful and insightful discussions of retirement. I subscribe to your blog and read your comments on a regular basis because they meet a need that is not being met in other blogs on this topic. This is the area in which you have made a unique and valuable contribution. As you yourself point out in regard to political comment, there is already “plenty of that from other places.” If I want to read political commentary, I can subscribe to an almost unlimited number of blogs that already exist with that focus.

    In response to one comment you wisely acknowledge that discussions of politics tend to divide people and bring out their worst. However, you next indicate that “The issues that affect our lives, though, are fair game.” So how do you intend to make that distinction? Using the criteria of “issues that affect our lives” can justify virtually any political topic you feel strongly about and want to include. I doubt that recasting political opinions and agendas as “issues affecting our lives” will avoid the negative consequences you are aware of.

    It’s fine that you have decided you want to “go public” in blogging about your personal political and spiritual views. However, I suggest that you consider leaving the topic of this blog as it is, and perhaps start a new blog dedicated to expressing your political/spiritual views. Let your existing reader base choose whether or not they want to read your expanded topics. Those who only want to read about retirement (as the blog has been) can continue to do so; those who want to read your political opinions can choose to read that new blog. Hijacking a blog with a established readership built on another premise will likely alienate a number of your readers and reduce your effectiveness in that area in which you have already made a substantial contribution.

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  21. Thank you for your thoughts, Jim. I am quite sure you speak for many who would rather I stick to just the nuts and bolts of retirement. I completely understand if stepping out a bit makes someone less satisfied with the overall product.

    That said, let me give some context to what I hope to do. After 9 plus years of sticking with the important parts of retirement, I have covered every subject dozens of times. That doesn't mean they aren't important. In fact, the majority of posts will continue in that vein. It is just a simple fact: if I keep writing about the same stuff with no variety I will not do justice to the subject or satisfy my creative need to write. I will burn out and quit.

    The number of what I would consider "political" posts will be few and far between. The number of articles about my personal spiritual journey will be just as infrequent. But, by not restricting myself to the same dozen purely retirement topics, I can write about things that affect us all after retirement: our absurd health care system, Social Security instability, climate change, racial and sexual discrimination, being more mindful in our daily lives, volunteering, the power of being a positive force as a grandfather, a movie I have seen that especially touched me.....pretty much anything that someone alive and part of our culture encounters and has a reaction to.

    If those type of topics are political, then I plead guilty. I see them as being realistic reflections of what many people my age care about. Since this is a personal blog, that should give me the ability to expand or contract as my needs and interests change.

    The focus of Satisfying Retirement will remain on what it has always been. But, I hope you see that a fully experienced retirement phase of life contains much more than just a handful of subjects. To be true to my premise since 2010, retirement is a time of growth and expansion. To not have that reflected on these pages is being untrue to me and the readers.

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    1. I think you missed my point. I never suggested that you not "grow and expand" in any way you see fit; I just question whether all of your personal growth and expansion is best served being expressed on this specific blog as opposed to another forum of your own choosing.

      Yes, you of course have the "right" to take your blog in any direction you care to, but that's not really the question I raised. The question is whether it is wise, helpful, productive and effective to take a blog that has built up a reader base by narrowly focusing on one specific topic, and turning it into a hodge podge of whatever happens to interest you at the time.

      It's obvious from your statements above that your criteria of "issues that affect our lives" is really no criteria at all, since broadly interpreting this means that you deem anything and everything as appropriate since in some sense, regardless of how remote that contact is, everything in life "touches our lives" as retirees or are issues "many people my age care about".

      I think there was a value in your narrowing of the topic, and that is what your reader base is built on. I think you've been a very effective voice in the area of retirement living, and I would hate to see that effectiveness diminished. In my limited experience, every time I have seen someone build a great blog on one narrow topic, and then attempt to broaden that into many other topics (especially political issues), it has resulted in a loss in readership, a blurring of focus, and consequently a much less effective voice. My suggestion that you consider expressing yourself on these other topics in a separate blog was in the hopes you could both personally grow and develop into new areas as interests you, but also continue as the effective voice you have built with your "satisfying retirement" blog.

      Best wishes to you.

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    2. Jim,

      I appreciate your thoughts and understand your points. We just have a fundamental difference of opinion as to what constitutes a topic viable for a retirement blog. I don't have the interest in maintaining two blogs, so if this experiment doesn't work, at least I won't kick myself for not trying.

      The readership of this blog has actually been slowly declining for the past few years, as have many blogs. Podcasts and YouTube videos are showing strong growth, probably because they can be consumed while doing something else, rather than requiring the full attention to read a blog post.

      I hope a somewhat wider take on retirement will expose what I write to new readers. If not, then at least I will have tried.

      Thanks, Jim, for an interesting discussion and a polite exchange of opinions.

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  22. Others said what I was thinking as I read your original post. I'm just thrilled you will keep writing as you always make me think. It's OK for me to feel a little "uncomfortable" with a post. Growth doesn't always come easily. Let the change begin!

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    1. It won't be as radical as some fear, but hopefully will give us all more to think about.

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  23. Bravo. Retirement provides the opportunity to look back on the changes that we have experienced and recognize where our opinions have changed because of those experiences and the wisdom we have earn through surviving to reach retirement. What use to seem very “black and white” now take on varying shades of gray.

    Hopefully, we have learned to stop and listen to coherent and well thought out opinions. Thank you for taking on the challenge of helping us find ways to leave behind a better world for our children and grandchildren.

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    1. I hope I can be one voice out of many on issues that are important to us and future generations.

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  24. I think it's great to expand what you are writing about. When I started my blog in 2012 it was about my journey with Multiple Myeloma. Now it's about minimalism, life, simplicity and still Myeloma( yup , it's still here:( but I keep going. Your blog should change as you have changed. I look forward to it.!!!

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    1. Thanks for the encouraging words. We will see what happens.

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  25. Yours is one of my favorite blogs, and I look forward to what you plan to discuss. I am guessing your readers will provide some lively discussions, as always. Cheers!

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    1. We go have some great back-and-forths on a whole range of topics.

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  26. I think it's a great idea Bob. Change is good. I retired in March 8, 2019 and I feel great. I look for to the new topics to come.

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    1. Welcome to the wonderful world of retirement, Gail. After 9 months, you are almost a veteran!

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  27. As a new reader to your blog, I look forward to the new content. I am learning much from your writing and your reader comments, and for that I am most grateful. I will be retiring within the next year or so, and it's a journey best taken with some knowledge and experience that others have shared. I like your blog for many reasons, but a primary one is exactly what you stated...the respectful discourse among everyone. It's a pleasure to read, and I'm looking forward to the "new you." So glad you are open to continuing, Bob. Best wishes to you and Betty this holiday season.

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    1. Best wishes to you and yours, too. Welcome and thank you.

      Please use the archived and label sections listed on the left sidebar to find all sorts of information and thoughts that might help you plan for your own retirement.

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  28. As I started reading this post, I thought "Oh no, he's taking a break, I hope it's not very long" and was pleasantly surprised to see that was not the case. I look forward to your new direction for the blog. I'm sure the posts and comments will make for very interesting reading.

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    1. Frankly, I had given serious thought to stopping completely. Over nine years on the same subject is a lot. But, the more I considered the community that has been built here, the meaningful exchange of ideas, and potential to spread my wings a bit, continuing seemed the right thing to do.

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  29. Eager to hear from you on new topics. I have been curious about your new spiritual journey for awhile but was hesitant to ask. As for other topics civil discussions with varied points of view would be so welcome.

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    1. I will have a post about my spiritual journey (at least parts of it) on December 21st. I will be anxious to see what the reaction is and what discussions it generates. Obviously, this is a private topic for most of us, but one that plays an important part in someone's retirement journey.

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  30. Like many others have said, I'm glad you're not ending your blog but simply expanding to other topics. That's great! You have a nice writing style and I believe we will like reading whatever is going on in that head of yours...

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    1. What's going on in my head is somewhat of a mystery, even to me. We will see what springs forth.

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  31. Go for it - I love what you have posted up till now but am looking forward to the changes too

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    1. Just to put folk's minds at rest, the majority of posts will continue to focus on specific parts of retirement. By wandering a bit afield, I can make it obvious that retirement can be about a lot more than 401(k)s and retirement housing!

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  32. A "Satisfying Retirement" includes many things, thoughts and opinions about issues that impact our world included. I love that you are expanding your range of topics. I have always found your posts very thoughtful and well-researched, and I expect that they will continue to be. Even if your issue-oriented posts generate more... ummmm... lively discussions, you, and most of your readers, know how to agree and disagree thoughtfully. Your blog, your rules... and I'm looking forward to reading what you have to say.

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    1. Exactly. There are all sorts of things that become part of our lives. To talk about them, discuss and debate them is what keeps us energized and involved. Thanks, Janis. We will see where this takes us all.

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  33. Bob, The broadening of your focus makes complete sense to me. I, too, started a blog about retirement, in my case, my chronicling my experience of retirement. But it turns out that a satisfying retirement is about living fully, which makes it hard to maintain a strict dividing line between retirement and other aspects of living. In my case, the focus broadened from retirement to aging. I'm looking forward to seeing what directions your broader focus takes you.

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    1. And I'm looking forward to seeing where your blog, Stepping Into The Future, takes you. You are absolutely correct: retirement often results in a widening of someone's interests and passions, not a narrowing.

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  34. Bob, I love the new directions that you are planning to incorporate in your blog. One of the best aspects of blogging, in my opinion, is that it creates a forum for thoughtful discussion of important topics. Retirees are a diverse group who potentially have a lot to contribute to the world in these difficult times. You have built up a strong community of readers, and I for one am interested to read about your perspectives on a broad range of topics.

    Jude

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