Self-Interview: How did retirement surprise you?

Word Art retirement surprises

My previous post listed ten questions I would like to ask retirees.

Question 2: Tell me something surprising about retirement.

I was surprised that it wasn’t easy working for myself. I was too lenient. I allowed myself to drift from one ‘great idea’ to the next without sinking my teeth into any one of them.

I guess I figured that with all the extra time, anything was possible.

I’ve written before about the shiny object syndrome .

I initially entered retirement with a ‘prove myself’ attitude and that too was frittered away by distraction and resistance. A year passed and I hadn’t completed nearly as many projects as I’d hoped to.

Other surprises? I didn’t read nearly as much as I expected to. But I also didn’t watch much TV. Even as I write this, I’m wondering…’what did I do with all that time?’.

More surprises in later posts. Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

Retirement Pondering Point: Six thoughts on reading obituaries

read-newspaper-obituaries

  1. I read them only to the point where you’re inspired to do something special or different with my day.
  2. I try to find at least one thing the obituary’s subject did that might reassure you? [ex: feel good that you accomplished something similar]
  3. If they do weigh me down on a given day, I just move on. There’s no reason to force it.
  4. “Obits have next to nothing to do with death and, in fact, absolutely everything to do with the life.” New York Times obituary writer Margalit Fox.
  5. “…a good obit illuminates not just one particular individual’s story but also the broader idea of all that is possible in life.”  STEPHANIE ZACHAREK May 4, 2017. http://time.com/4766634/the-art-of-obit-a-life-in-800-words/
  6. Quote from Austin Kleon about reading obituaries: “Reading them is a way for me to think about death while also keeping it at arm’s length.”  Austin Kleon Show Your Work

 

Self-Interview: An ideal day of retirement…

canine-1851504_1280

My previous post listed ten questions I would like to ask retirees.

I decided answering those same questions myself would give me a better context for chats with other retirees. So here goes:

Question 1: Tell me about a good day of retirement. Be as specific as you like.

A good day of retirement would include:

  1. doing something new, no matter how inconsequential it might be to others. It might be trying out a new food item at the store or a new restaurant.
  2. baking three-cheese-chive scones or devil’s food-chocolate chip muffins. [I usually lean toward baking something decadent, at least mildly decadent.]
  3. a visit to weekday Mass, where I would get the requisite [for me] fist bump from a buddy as I return from Communion.
  4. writing at least 500 words. I would like to see those words entail a blog post to my inventwithwords.com blog or this retirerenew.com blog. I would like at least 200 of those words directed toward one of my fiction projects.
  5. at least 30 minutes of exerbiking while reading/first drafting.
  6. an evening walk with my wife at either a nature area in town or in the neighborhood.
  7. time with our soon-to-be-adopted dog. [Not even sure who that is.]
  8. a relaxing morning coffee and breakfast with my wife and an ebook, with Keb Mo music in the background.
  9. a glance at the morning newspaper, one that homes in on good news and my favorite comic strips.
  10. sunshine and plenty of time in the backyard to enjoy it.
  11. at least 30 minutes of reading, both fiction and non-fiction.
  12. a check-in on the phone with either a sibling, my friend in Chico, CA, or my friend in San Diego.
  13. doing errands around town and visiting the library with my wife and dog.
  14. watching an episode of Modern Family in the afternoon, as I sip on a strong cup of Italian Roast and nibble on the muffins or scones I baked just 30 minutes before.

I have to say, this was fun. And I know I left out tons of other fun details I could have included.

Stepping Stone 5: I should have sought more novelty.

im-possible

At the end of some of my days, things felt stale. Why the uneasiness? I hadn’t tried anything new.

And at this stage in my life, it felt like lost time. Not a reason to get all worked up–like I said, just a general state of disquiet.

Still, I liked those days when I reminded myself to look for opportunities for novelty.

A favorite book: Do One Thing Every Day That Scares You
[Note: Not an affiliate link.]

These mini-adventures don’t have to be life-changing, however. They don’t have to upset the apple cart. They could be as simple as cruising a new aisle at the library or ordering–Lord, help us–a different drink from your favorite coffee hangout.

Sidebar: There are benefits to seeking novelty. Then again, for some, it can be taken a bit too far. But that’s hardly my intention.

I’ll be following up with lists of ten ‘new things to try’. We wouldn’t want to be overwhelmed, now would we?
Face With Head-Bandage on Google Android 8.1

So today… ‘Try new!’.

See my next post on the benefits of seeking novelty


What are stepping stones?

A list of my ideal retirerenew.com readers

They want:

  1. to take forward steps in their lives.
  2. to look ahead to new experiences, not to dread what’s ahead.
  3. a focus on creativity.
  4. affirmations and thoughts and guidance from people like Todd Henry and Austin Kleon.
  5. a lighter touch on retirement and aging issues.
  6. to share their experience.
  7. community, but more on a drop-in basis. No pressure to participate by any means.
  8. some insulation from political and religious discussions and from exposure to the painful goings-on of the day.
  9. an emphasis on good news and laughter.
  10. shared experiences as family members.
  11. shared experiences as pet owners.
  12. a excerpt or chapter or two or more from my fiction/mystery project.

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Stepping Stone #4: As a retiree, I had one job…

“…get whatever is in you out.”

tools of creation 2

Todd Henry began ‘speaking to me’ way back in 2015 when part of my job was to create something ‘new’ or ‘more original’ than what was already out there.

This author/creator of four books [Die Empty, The Accidental Creative, and Louder Than Words, and Herding Tigers–I have the first three.] has been a go-to ‘mentor’ ever since.   NON-affiliate link to his books

Let’s ‘listen in’ to this excerpt from his newsletter that arrived today [March 30, 2018]:

“You have one job: get whatever is in you out. Your one and only job today, and every day, is to get whatever is in you out. Not tomorrow’s work, not yesterday’s work, but today’s. On my computer monitor is a note that reads, “Can I lay my head down tonight satisfied with the work I did today?” If I have made my contribution that day, I can rest with a clean conscience.

Do not be dulled, friends. Do not allow the lull of comfort to cause you to abdicate your contribution. Stay sharp. Keep your edges. Nothing – NOTHING – is worth giving up the most precious thing you have to offer.”

***

Pep talk: Hey, there is not this vast expanse of creative time and energy in front of us. We have to get to it. Now. Find your creative tools of choice. Start with five minutes. Then maybe ten minutes the next day. And let’s see where it takes us.