Friday, January 26, 2018

So, What Do You Do?

 "There’s never enough time to do all the nothing you want." 
-- Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbs 

It is official: I have finally ordered my new "so, what do you do" cards allowing me to continue my retirement in a stress and drama free lifestyle, to which I have become accustomed. Well, not counting the fact that my wife Brooke alleges that I have discovered new and improved ways of getting on her nerves. To me, I feel as though I have mastered new skills to demonstrate my undying love to and for her; all in only 10 short months.

But, I digress. 

I have said previously that I believe one of the greatest by-products of retirement is flexibility. I have become a wanderluster, I have expanded my foodie palette, and most importantly, I have become a formidable professional sleeper-inner. I am quite literally available for practically anything at anytime (after 10:00 am local time of course). Folks, these are significant skills I am talking about!

Brooke and I often get out and about in Houston attending art gallery openings, checking out new restaurants, or going to our regular haunts. We are very social and friendly, and as a result, we meet many interesting and engaging strangers. Inevitably, the number one question that we are asked by new people we meet is, "So, what do you do?"

Brooke has mentioned to me that she prefers that I NOT say, "Well, I was just released from prison and I am trying to adjust to restaurant food and a free society!" I have solved this perplexing and difficult question to answer by simply ordering my own cards that are self-explanatory. Not to mention what it has done for my street cred!

"When a man retires, his wife gets twice the husband but only half the income." 
-- Chi Chi Rodriguez

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Thursday, January 11, 2018

Why Retirement Should Be A Bucket List Goal

Hard to believe it already, but I have been retired for over 9 months now. This means that many new babies have been born AFTER I officially retired. I am asked several times a week, "Are you bored yet?" The truth is that I have probably had less moments when I could say that I was experiencing boredom than when I was working full-time. The central reason is that I have simply replaced work activities with other activities. Things like more personal travel, joining my wife on her business trips, and sleeping in whenever I want (to name only a few)!

Reading many recent reports and looking at numerous statistics, one might start to believe that we are quickly nearing the point where a Time Magazine cover might proclaim, "Retirement is Dead!" The sub-title might continue with an assertion that, for most, retirement in America begins at one's death.  Sadly, I fear a vast majority of people reading this blog post may agree that the sentiment is true for them.

I am blessed to have been able to retire and I will offer one single piece of advice to everyone, regardless of your age; pay yourself first - PERIOD. I will acknowledge that there are many who have circumstances that are nearly, if not completely, insurmountable (i.e., the generational poor, the physically or mentally ill, those who lack access to adequate education, etc.). I learned from my parents that saving was the first bill I should pay every month. As I have grown older, I have been saddened to see so much squandered (subject for a future blog) by so many who could be retired today or in the near future.

Switching to a lighter note, I thought I would share my top 10 personal observations (9 months in) on why retirement should be on your bucket list:

  • There IS life after whatever you are doing and it IS better - imagine a place where the grass IS greener
  • Complete freedom and flexibility after years of the exact opposite
  • You earned it (like vacation but with no end point)
  • Everyday can start at whenever you want (for me, 10:00 is a nice round number)
  • Getting enough sleep becomes "a thing"
  • Alarm clocks are optional
  • You can binge watch or binge read and it can be on a weekday
  • Personal travel is possible and will occur more often
  • Availability for things that really matter expand dramatically and with less drama
  • At last, YOU are the boss of YOU (or your direction comes from someone not paying you for such direction - Love you Brooke) 

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