Seize the Moment

Hey Neighbor! This is RetirED.

Recently, while I was happily “isolating” in the forest that surrounds our home, I had the opportunity to meet our new neighbor who had ventured over to introduce himself when he heard the sound of my chain saw. His name is Paul, a personable, active, eighty-eight-year-old fella who retired and relocated to the area with his wife about thirty years ago. It was interesting to learn that during his working career, Paul owned and operated a successful people business located in a city north of Denver. His company offered essential services that everyone will need at some point in their lives. His business was running a funeral home.

When I asked Paul how his retirement experience has been so far, he grinned from ear to ear as he told me his retirement has been fantastic because of a lesson learned from people he helped who had unexpectedly lost a loved one. The message was: I wish we hadn’t waited until it was too late to enjoy our retirement years.  Paul explained that hearing this regret over and over again from surviving spouses he helped changed his life. Realizing that he might run out of time before “someday” arrived, he adopted the phrase “Carpe Diem” – seize the day – as his motto for living.

When Paul and his wife retired, they spent their early years traveling extensively, visiting all the places they dreamed of seeing but had no time to visit during their working years. The result has been an abundant, full retirement life packed with amazing memories, new friendships, and unique cultural experiences.

As my new neighbor puts it: “We live each day as if it is our last on this side of the property line. Living as long as I have and enjoying each day like it is my last has given me a rich life with no regrets.”

…and that’s worth thinking about.

My name is RetirED.

I’M YOUR DEDICATED RETIRED PERSON REPORTING ON REAL LIFE RETIREMENT EXPERIENCES.

Virtual reality is amazingly realistic, but it’s still not real

Howdy folks. Ed here.

Virtual reality is amazingly realistic, but it’s still not real  

I recently had the opportunity to strap on a pair of virtual reality goggles and sky dive over the Grand Canyon. Knowing my fear of heights, I should have chosen a virtual activity closer to the ground – like driving a formula one race car or skiing in the Alps. After the simulation program finished and my stomach returned to its normal location, I was astonished by how realistic the experience was. Yet, it wasn’t real. I can’t truthfully say I’ve actually sky dived over the Grand Canyon even though I experienced it in the virtual realm. I can say without any doubt; I never will do it for real! Five feet, eleven inches is my height, and it’s about as high as I care to go these days.

Getting real in retirement
There is a difference between how I envisioned my retirement (virtual planning) lifestyle before it began and how it’s playing out in real time (retirement reality) today.

I imagined that the transition from working-for-a-living to living-for-a-living would be easy, especially since my lifetime career involved helping people retire successfully. I created an unrealistic expectation that because of my specialized education and experience in the retirement planning profession, I would be nothing less than the poster child for my seamless retirement transformation. As it turns out, I was wrong.

The truth is, as I moved from the virtual planning phase to the reality stage, it took about a year for my new retirement lifestyle routines and adventures to begin to feel real. I kept thinking I was going to suddenly wake up to the work alarm clock and realize this was only a dream. It took time for me to accept I wasn’t in a dream; I was living one.

One of my favorite  “ah ha” reality moments came when I realized that the few deadlines I have are self-imposed. After working in a career filled with due-dates created by others, I found tremendous relief and freedom in the reality that I am the creator of my daily agenda, as long as my wife agrees! Some experiences can’t be replicated through a pair of virtual reality goggles – like the feeling of doing what you want, whenever you want, for as long as you want.

Until next time, imagine the life of your dreams, then make it real.

My name is RetirED.

I’m your dedicated retired person reporting on real life retirement experiences.

How’s Retirement?

Howdy folks. Ed here.

How’s Retirement?
My friends, who are still working, often ask me: “So Ed, how’s retirement?” I trust they are asking this question because they are interested in how I’m doing since I took my leave from a profession I loved for over thirty years. I also suspect people ask this question to get reassurance from someone they know that the status we call “retired” equates to being inspired, and not expired. My response to the “how’s retirement” question is always the same: “ retirement is what you make it.” It’s your choice.

How do you spend your time?
In addition to the “How’s retirement” question, non-retired people seem insistently interested in getting confirmation of what retired people do all day now that we aren’t shortening our lives with the added stresses and pressures of career responsibilities.

Inquiring minds want to know: “Are you traveling to new and exotic places? Do you have a new hobby? Are you spending more undistracted time with your family and friends? Are you pursuing a new vocational interest or donating some of your free time to worthy causes? Does your retirement wardrobe include a mint green jumpsuit with Velcro® strips instead of buttons?” (I’ve never actually been asked this last question, but sometimes I fear people are thinking it.) My response to all the above questions (except the last one) is “yes.” Retirement is like an all you eat buffet. Unlike work life where someone else decides what’s on the dinner menu, I get to pick and choose what activities and interests are on my daily activity plate – a combination of healthy, active, educational, and restful pursuits – plus lots of treats.

People also ask me: “Do you miss your career life?” My answer is “yes and no.” I don’t miss the politics, but I do miss the people. I feel fortunate in that I loved what I did for a living every day of my career. I’m finding I’m beginning to feel the same way about my new endeavor – retirement.
Until next time, plan as if you’ll live forever and live as if you’ll die tomorrow.

My name is RetirED.

I’m your dedicated retired person reporting on real life retirement experiences.