August 29, 2022
Why Do I Keep Blogging?
That is a good question. More than twelve years after beginning all this, I don't have a simple answer. The average American marriage lasts just over eight years, four years shorter than I have been blogging. That is a scary thought. Certainly, it is satisfying to see something I have written on the Internet pulled up during a Google search. That doesn't pay for printer ink or downloaded photos, but, there is some validation there.
I guess there are a few parts to the answer to why I keep doing this. First is my need to write. A blog gives me a reason. I know myself well enough to know I don't have the patience or drive to write a novel or even a nonfiction book. A long-time friend of mine has written two mystery novels, both of which I bought and enjoy. It has been a joy to watch his writing improve and his lifelong dream become fulfilled. It was hard, stressful work for him. That path is not for me.
Six to seven hundred words a few times a week is not a lot of heavy lifting. It scratches my itch. Finding a topic usually isn't a problem. Since Satisfying Retirement covers so many topics, I have few restrictions on what can be written about. Committing to something fresh every three or four days gives me the structure I need.
Politics is generally avoided. That subject is so overdone that it is almost always guaranteed to generate more heat than light. Religion and sex, the two biggies to avoid in polite conversation, are not often the focus of a post either. That leaves quite a few topics I can pick from.
Honestly, another reason is I sincerely enjoy reacting to the comments left on the posts. I know some bloggers don't respond, but that couldn't be me. if someone reads what has been written and then actually takes the time to add his or her thoughts, I feel it would be unseemly to not recognize that effort with one of my own.
It is interesting to watch the flow of readers into and then away from the blog. I guess this is rather typical, but almost all of the folks who commented on posts of say, six years ago, have been replaced with a a new set of regular participants. If I am still doing this three or four years from now, I imagine there will be a new crop. I guess regular readers just feel the need for freshness and find new blogs to read. Or maybe there is a change in their daily schedule that makes active participation more difficult.
I sometimes wonder where the people who were here earlier in my journey, have gone. Are they still reading but just not leaving their thoughts? Have they grown tired of retirement as a topic and simply moved on? Since I am a proponent of change, I am not disappointed or upset by this turnover. I am just a little curious. Of course, an obvious answer is podcasts. They are drawing millions each day; that is certainly a home for former blog readers.
Blogging is one of the best ways I have found to expand my horizons. I will write a piece that seems to be coherent, on target, and answers the questions that prompted the post in the first place. Then, a reader will leave a comment that adds an entirely new thought or poses a question I hadn't considered. Someone will write something that shows me a direction I hadn't even thought about. Maybe a comment will send responses along a certain tangent that opens up an entirely new path.
Each time this happens I am instantly, and very publicly, reminded that I have a lot to learn. It is clear that my thoughts are not complete. I'm also continuously impressed with the effort that people put into their comments. There is obvious thoughtfulness happening. The comments are meant to enlighten, educate, subtly criticize, be supportive, or allow someone to share a personal experience that relates to the topic.
The final reason I keep blogging is probably a little silly and exposes a problem with my ego: I don't want to disappoint those who make this blog a regular part of their Internet time. I am not sure if that is a sense of responsibility or simply like feeling needed.
Importantly, another reason that I still blog is pretty far down the list. But, in all candor, I felt the need to expose it. As I noted above, blogging is forced learning and maybe a bit of therapy. Until I am all-knowing and completely healed of my delusions there are reasons to keep at it.
That suggests I will be here awhile.
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Bob, not sure if you'll remember me, but we "met" through this blog exactly 12 years ago this month. My first day of retirement was August 1, 2010--after 36 years in public education. If memory serves, you had just started blogging a short time before that. My wife and I had decided to sell our house in Georgia and move to Massachusetts to live near our only son. We were excited and eager for the new adventure. With new found time on my hands I started perusing the internet for retirement blogs and found you. And here I am, 12 years later and still reading every post. I'm one of those who doesn't comment often but I'm still here! The 12 years have brought many "adjustments" in our retirement just as you have often written. You'll remember that the move to Massachusetts in 2010 turned out to be "temporary" and by December we had bought another house in Georgia and moved back. That lasted a little over 2 years and we realized that sometimes it's true that "you can't go home again". This time we moved to the seacoast of New Hampshire which was an hour north of our son. That move was a winner! We loved it and immediately connected with many new friends. But the retirement story didn't end there. Two years ago our son got married (at age 36) and settled with our daughter-in-law in a different Boston suburb about 30 minutes further from us. That seemed okay and the pandemic was in full swing anyway so we were happy for them. But as the pandemic isolation waned and they started mentioning children we knew once again a move was in the cards. So, last November we moved from our condo in New Hampshire to a very nice apartment complex just down the street from our son and daughter-in-law. And it is just what we hoped it would be! We see them all during the week, we help them fix up their house and garden, and we have them over for dinner every Sunday evening. I left out many of my retirement "details" and changes but you've written many times how retirement isn't just "one" thing. It's just another stage of life and life is always full of changes. One thing hasn't changed--I'm still here reading your blog. P.S. Would love to chat sometime!ReplyDelete
I absolutely remember your story of moving to be closer to your son, then moving back not long afterwards.Delete
Your experience has prompted several blog posts over the years about moving too quickly after retitement, or the risks of moving to be near someone who is then transferred to another part of the country.
I am glad you have found the right place to experience the joy of being part of your son's famly's life. That can be one of the best parts of retirement.
And, a special tip of the hat for sticking around all these years! I thought the only person who read everythong is my wife!
Drop me an email and we can arrange a chat.
Bob, reading your blog has become part of my retirement routine. Satisfying Retirement was on a recommended list of resources from a retirement prep "course" I had attended. One of the questions you asked in one of your blogs was - How do you stay current? Your blog content contributes to keeping me current & providing many topics for discussion with my peers. Thank you.ReplyDelete
That is nice to hear, Mona. Without getting into firey topics very often, I try to offer content that isn't always retirement-centered. After all, our participation doesn't cease when we stop working!Delete
Thanks for being here.
I'm new to reading your blog- not sure how I found it. My husband is close to retirememt and I'm under 6 years out. I don't think we'll struggle being retired financially or avtivity wise, but some days the worries come. It's great to read from young and active retirees ( yes that's you) how they are navigating life after full time employment. I too try and blog daily. It's my mental release. I hope my writing has improved over the last 8 years, but even if not, I'm trying.ReplyDelete
Welcome to our neighborhood. This is a safe place to learn, pose questions, and offer comments from all sorts of retired and wanna-be retirees.Delete
I clicked over to your blog. I will add it to the blogroll. I see you have convinced hubby to join the retirement ranks a bit sooner!
Hi Bob, I've been reading your content since around 2014 right before I left the work world. Maybe not always leaving my comments, but have learned so much about how we spend our time in retirement and doing what's important. It will be different for everyone. The many topics you have written about through the years has always brought awareness of new things to discover or do outside our "comfort zone." Thank You for for time and dedication to your blog. RussReplyDelete
Eight years...that is as long as the average marriage...thanks, Russ.Delete
If I had to write strictly about the nuts and bolts of retirement I would burned out long ago. Having a broader palette to choose from opens so many doors.
Reading and loving your blog for 8 years now but conscious that I perhaps don’t comment as often as I should - maybe because I agree with much of what you’ve written. I do appreciate your content. Thank you.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Caree. Sometimes the perspective from across the pond shows us all how similar our key concerns are.Delete
I will appologize right back. My comments on your blog, and all the others I check have fallen off since I added several new things to my daily calendar. You have prompted me to make a new effort to be more active in that regard.
I write my blog for many of the same reasons you've outlined here. The item that hits closest to me, though, is your admission that readers often comment and add a new thought or a different perspective and you end up learning something from the responses. I hope you respond in turn, because all of us other bloggers need the wisdom of your experience. Anyway, good to be reassured that you'll be here for a while.ReplyDelete
I think the interaction triggered by the comments is my favorite part of blogging. I can see how many people visit here each day, but without the back and forth those are just numbers, not real people.
I like to check-in from time to time and as you know I often comment. I think I first discovered your blog about 2012 or so as I was leading up to my own retirement--I took the leap into retirement in the spring of 2015. I find you usually blog something interesting and these days I try and add at least a bit of my own retirement experiences. All the best to you Bob and keep on blogging as long as it brings you joy.ReplyDelete
You have been a steady adocate of spending money in retirement to bring joy and satisfaction. I have become a believer! Experiences and memories are what I add now to my life.Delete
I have been around for a while and find your topics on target and interesting. In fact, you and your readers saved my husband and I some $$$ by explaining the business of TV subscriptions. Thank you, again.ReplyDelete
Recently, I missed seeing your email alerts to new posts and checked in myself. I found I missed a few posts and needed to resubscribe. Probably my error somewhere. I do look forward to your writing. Charlene H
When I restarted, Google had eliminated their email subscription service. The new one, Follow.it, works the same way, though it seems slower to notice a new post.Delete
I do remember your questions about cable and streaming. I am happy you were able to cut those expenses.
New reader here. I have been retired for 1 month. I enjoy your posts and hope you keep it up for a long time — as long as you enjoy writing them.ReplyDelete
Welcome! I invite you to check out older posts by category or year to help you get oriented.Delete
An offer I am happy to make to all new retirees applies to you, Marilyn. If you ever have a question about any aspect of retirement, feel free to email me. I will be very happy to answer any and all of your questions.
Your post prompted an enjoyable trip down memory lane. Part of that trip of course was remember that we connected through our blogs years ago. But even before that, I remember when I came up with a concept that excited me. I told someone about it, and she said I should write a blog. "What's that?" I asked. When I started posting, I thought that it would really just be like a journal of my thoughts on the topic that had inspired me. When other people started reading it, I was so surprised -- ha!!ReplyDelete
As you know, I let that blog go dormant, and took a two year break before something else caught my imagination, and off I went again. My daughter tells me that blogging is passe, as is Facebook apparently, with the younger crowd. Certainly, I don't have the audience I had in the early years. But that is fine, because as you observed, we blog for many reasons. So thanks for reminding me. It was fun to read what keeps you at it.
Certainly my topic isn't going to draw many readers younger than 55! I know podcasts and all sorts of social media apps satisfy the communication needs of younger folks.Delete
Even so, the last figures I saw show there remain many more blogs than podcasts. So, readers are still out there. As long as that is true you and I still have an outlet to communicate and express ourselves.
But, just so you know, I still miss your Happy Place blog.
See you in a few weeks!
Bob, have been reading your blog for over 7 years: starting right before I retired. Seems as if you have the knack for making a true connection thru your writing. Everyday starts with the news and then your blog. Keep it up from AM in Satsuma, FlReplyDelete
Thank you for such a nice compliment. I strive to make both the blog topic and any comment responses informative and supportive. I appreciate that you sense that effort.Delete
And good morning!
Bob, I have no idea how I found your blog, but I believe I started following it a couple of years before I escaped from the workforce and that was six years ago. As I've commented in the past, not only do I enjoy your posts, but I appreciate the wonderful community here. I'll be reading as long as you keep posting. Thanks for all of your efforts on our behalf!ReplyDelete
Thanks for your years of support, Mary.Delete
I must add that I continue to enjoy your series on past RV trips. While reading them, I can picture us back in our RV exploring many of the same places.
Thanks for your kind words, Bob. I blog for some of the same reasons you do - I enjoy creative writing and I like connecting with others who share an interest in the topics I write about. Plus, I enjoy documenting our travels so our kids will have a decent record of our road trips. Truth be told, when I document past travels I get to enjoy them all over again - and that makes my heart happy!Delete
I started reading your blog about 10 years ago to help prepare for retirement (I stopped working in 2017). I appreciate the time and effort you invest to write these posts, and also the ways that you have re-engineered the blog to keep it current and pertinent, and allow open but civil discussion. I find that I typically agree with your way of thinking, or waited too long to comment and others have already stated what I would have written, so have provided very few comments. So I'll keep reading as long as you keep publishing and thank you! Dan MReplyDelete
As long as I enjoy the process and have an audience that finds the material adds something to their day, I will be here!Delete
Ten years! Thanks, Dan.
I have been a reader for at least 9 years. Started pre retirement.. now we’re happily settled into our retirement routines,Ken works part time and loves it, I am still “free” as a bird..and still reading about your adventures!I love hearing about your hobbies,travels, your art work, Betty’s crafts and photography. I had trouble commenting wiht the new blogger format but seem to have figured it out now! I am especially paying attention to the “spend more money” ideas on your bog and ini your comments..we are frugal by nature and we ARE getting older..time to spend some of our hard earned cash on experiences we can still enjoy!!ReplyDelete
Nine years...wow..thank you!Delete
Betty and I reached the conclusion that there are still some trips we want to take before time and tide shut us down. One is a bucket list trip of mine: the train up the West Coast from L.A. to Portland. We leave in a little over two weeks.
Then a trip to Disneyland in early December...no rides, no family, just us enjoying our time together taking in the sights and having good meals.
Next year. A month in Flagstaff out of the heat, and then back to England, ending up with a river cruise from Paris.
We want memories and time together to make them. Just keep your fingers crossed there is no new pandemic or worldwide crisis.
Most retirees do underspend in their retirement, especially in their early and most healthy years which is unfortunate but it's tough to break the habit of being frugal after a lifetime of saving for the future. Still, it's great to hear of your upcoming plans!Delete
Your "before time and tide shut us down" comment reminds me of a friend I have. After leading a fairly frugal early retirement about a year or two after he turned 70 he started travelling a lot and spending more on the things he really liked doing (one of them was deep sea fishing). I commented on how all of a sudden he had started travelling and doing so much more. He said to me: "I think I've finally figured out my money is going to last longer than I will". Hopefully, like my friend, most of us will reach that conclusion while there is still time to do something about it. Time and tide does indeed wait for no one.
I started reading your blog in 2013 when I was preparing my own retirement, since then it has been wonderful each week, to read your wiseful articles. thanks Bob for helping us to live and understand our own experiences.ReplyDelete
Thank you for nine years of being here! I hope your retirement has been a fulfilling journey so far.Delete
Bob, I discovered your blog about 3 years ago. I regularly read 15 blogs ranging from art to clinical psychology. At least half of the writers have Phd's. Your blog is my favorite. Why? You have outstanding writing skills. Your posts cover everyday life. The comments lead to new perspectives. The commenters are very respectful of others opinions. I especially like the comments about enjoying the money we worked so hard to save--take that trip! Your blog is the only one I offer comments. I comment only if I think it will be helpful. I look forward to your posts, and hope you continue blogging. A wonderful retirement means having things to look forward to.ReplyDelete
Your thoughts made my day. I enjoy writing and am glad my efforts please you. I plan on being here as long as I have something worth communicating, and prople like you read those words.Delete
Hey Bob! I have absolutely no idea how many years I've been reading your blog. I think I found it when I was researching retirement blogs and yours stood out. And even though I still don't consider myself "retired" I enjoy reading your thoughts about getting older and just what you have to say. Like many of your readers I don't always leave comments but I do make an effort to read your posts. And like you, as a blogger it is interesting to look back and see how both my writing has changed, my interests have changed, and I have changed in the process. It will be interesting to see where you go from here. ~KathyReplyDelete
Where the blog goes ftom here will as much a reflection of life changes as anything. There is a general belief that the older one becomes the more set in their ways that person is.Delete
I am finding the opposite is true: the older I get the less I find old habits and ways of interpreting something to be satisfactory.
I am really looking forward to turning you and Thom from virtual friends into in-person ones in a few weeks.
Hi Bob! RJ's recent post reminded me I had not visited your blog for while. For some reason was dropped from your emails, but I signed in again.ReplyDelete
I keep failing full time retirement here, as I continue teaching along with blogging. Still having fun, though, at a leisurely pace. Thanks to Zoom no more travel other than in the little RV. It was AZ to MN via MT this year - good time - return trip in October TBD.
Your train trip sounds intriguing. Knew a couple who went from Boston to LA by train a few years back and really enjoyed it. Have fun!
Still blogging here, but not as frequent. Started about the same time you did, and can't believe it is still going after almost 12 years. Ran across your blog about then, and when I realized you were in Phoenix we connected over several enjoyable lunches.
Presently in MN, but will be back in late October. Let's get together then and catch up. In the meantime, keep on blogging!
Yes, a lunch with you and Mary is a must!Delete
I know you love what you do so "failing" at retirement doesn't suprise me. Maybe we just call it Daryl's unique version of retirement.
I discovered you via the article/interview that you and Betty did in Money Magazine. Not sure when that was. I've been reading ever since, and for the first few years, I was anticipating retirement and quite worried about how it would all work. The info I got here was very helpful and reassuring. While not every post draws a comment from me, I read them all. I've learned a lot and love the comments/discussion. So I'm glad you enjoy it and look forward to continuing to read whatever topic you come up with.ReplyDelete
That is going back quite awhile. The Money magazine interview was in 2011. I remember they sent a photographer to our house. He took over 500 shots of us but ended up using only one.Delete
Not every post will generate a connection that stimulates a comment, which is expected. I deeply appreciate you are here.
Bob, I contacted you in June 2021 after you decided to discontinue your blog. I was so glad you decided to return to blogging. As I mentioned then, I read your blog for several years before I retired in 2019 but never commented. Your topics continue to enrich my life and I feel like I know many of the people who comment here. Thank you! Now that I have been brave enough to comment, I'll plan to return!ReplyDelete
Thank you, Marsha. I look foward to having you as part of the family for years to come.Delete
I recently discovered your blog after dreading Retired Syd. I am enjoying it. Keep blogging!
I trust you meant after "reading" Retired Syd! Her blog inspired me to blog all those years ago.Delete