Category Archives: Reinvention

Because We Can!

My best friend and I are both retired teachers.  We have talked on the phone, pretty much every night, for the past 30+ years.  We live in towns that are roughly 15 miles apart, and we have been talking on the phone since the days when it was long distance for us to call each other.

These days the favorite thing about retirement, for both of us, is that we can pick up the phone and call each other at ten o’clock in the morning.  We will often call just to chat about something stupid that just happened, or to share what’s going on.  And our new favorite phrase is,

“I thought I’d call…Why???…Because I can!!!”

It is our favorite thing!  We no longer need to wait until the end of the workday to share our stories.  And it got me thinking about the many, many things that we now are able to do…

Because We Can

Read a book until 3:00 AM. Or in the middle of the afternoon.

Take a nap in the middle of the day, or whenever we feel the need.

Work on craft projects – for me it’s quilting – whenever the urge hits.

Eat popcorn for dinner or pizza for breakfast!

Run errands in the middle of the day.  Mow the lawn on a Tuesday. Shop for groceries ANY day but the weekend!

Take a trip, near or far, and leave on a Tuesday, with very little notice and not too much advance planning!

Enjoy the many, many venues that exist in our city, but which we have never previously taken advantage of:  the art museum, the history museum, the botanical garden, the local parks, our many craft breweries…you get the idea.

Oh yeah, and have cocktails or a glass of wine – at 4:00 in the afternoon!

Putter our way through household chores – We no longer need to get everything done on the weekend.  A little laundry here, a little dusting there…good enough!

Take a walk in the middle of the day, or go to our 24-hour gym at 9:00 at night!

Go out for brunch any day of the week.

Meet up with friends, pretty much whenever it’s convenient!

So how about it.  What are those things that you love doing now in retirement, just “because you can?” I’d love to hear how others are enjoying their voyage!

Lynn

Photo credit: Charlz Gutierrez de Pineres ~ Unsplash

 

Retirement – What will you learn next?

A few days ago, “Sparky” over at Mr. Fire Station posted a list of the five stages of retirement.  In the third stage, the Bloomberg graphic claims that you need to be prepared for the boredom which will inevitably set in.  I voiced my opinion in my comment on his blog, and I will say it again now…

That’s bull pucky!

We live in a great big, vast world in which you have learned exactly 0% of all of the things out there to be discovered!  Even the inside of your own mind is endless!  (I admit, I read that somewhere!)  But it’s so true!  Anything that even remotely peaks your interest is yours for the taking, and in this Encore Voyage, you have nothing if not time to pursue those interests.

For me, I have found that each time I decide I want to learn something new, it keeps leading me to the next thing, and I can’t decide what I should try next!  In fact, I keep finding that I don’t have enough time to tackle all the things I want to try!  That age old expression, “When did I find time to work?” is certainly true!

What do you want to learn today-

Take, for example, my saxophone.  A few years back, commented that I wanted to play a second, more portable musical instrument.  I already play the piano, but it’s a little difficult to pack up and take to a party!  My piano teacher advised me that I have the “attitude of an alto sax player” whatever that’s supposed to mean, and now I’m the proud owner of a beautiful alto sax.  I’m committed to one day playing that sucker!  Right now, I’m at the “squawking like I’m calling geese” stage, but I will improve with practice and time.

The point is, in retirement, especially in this internet age, you can learn to do pretty much anything you put your mind to…So I ask youWhat will you donow that you're donedoing what you did-Instead of sitting around being bored and waiting for the next stage to arrive, how about you ask yourself some questions:

What’s next?

What are my goals?

What do I want to learn, do, or be?

Is there anything that I’ve always wanted to try?

Where do I see myself in the next 10 years?

Because, my friend, if you don’t pay attention, you will let your retirement years slip away. You will sleep in, watch TV, play computer games, go out to lunch with friends, play golf, babysit those grand kids, and before you know it, a couple of decades will have passed, and I don’t want you to get to the end of it asking, “Is that it???”  Because the only path to a rich, rewarding and vigorous retirement requires some soul searching, self-reflection, and learning new things!

Lynn

Our Encore Career – 10 Steps to Success

If I had a dollar for every time someone has said to us, “I want to do what you guys did!”, we could retire all over again!  If you have read our history, then you know that we sort of got thrown into the voyage head first.  Even so, there are some things we learned along the way that we can share.  So if you are feeling crushed by your current job, and want to start your own Encore Career, here are some things that you might find helpful.

 1.  Have some sort of savings in place.  That’s right – If you are going to strike out on your own, you need a bit of a safety cushion to cover the cost of day to day expenses for a few months while you get things off the ground.  I’m not talking about your retirement account! Do Not Ever steal from an IRA, even if you think you’ll pay it back!  It’s highly unlikely you ever will!  I’m not talking about a business loan.  It may be the case that you will secure a business loan to get your ideas off the ground – but you need some funds to sustain you outside of business expenses, at least for a little while.

2.  Find your passion.  I asked hubs what his dream job would be if he could choose.  Figure out what the thing is that you would like to do every day, even if it didn’t make you a dime…then figure out a way to make money doing that!  The whole point of the Encore Voyage is not just to be self-employed, but to be on a soul fulfilling journey!  Decide what you want your dream life to look like.

The voice inside

3.  Create an SOQ – A Statement of Qualifications.  It’s where you sit down and write out all of the marketable skills you have that you wish to promote. What are those things you do particularly well?  What goods do you have to sell?  Here is where you showcase your talents and abilities, and describe them in a nice format.

4.  Determine some short-term, mid-term and long-term goals.  Where do you want to be in 6 months, a year, or even five years? How will you know if this voyage is working for you?  Yes, not starving is a good indicator, but it shouldn’t be the only one!  It should be observable and measurable.

5.  Establish your business identity. What will you call yourself?  How will you explain what it is that you do? Will you have a logo? A business name and website?  Do you need/want to register your business with your state? Do you need to establish a separate business banking account? These were all the nagging little details that made the voyage seem scary and intimidating at first.

6.  Establish a fee structure. Do some research to determine the going rates for services or products similar to yours, and to determine what the market will bear.  Get an idea firmly written down of what you will charge for your services or goods.

7.  Take as many steps as possible to minimize business debt at first. Just because you start “a business” does not mean you can take a trip and call it a business expense!  You still need to consider profit and loss.  Hubs and I have very little overhead, because we work from our home, and have no other employees.  We are careful to keep control of our costs.

8.  Keep excellent records. It has taken us a couple of years to wrap our arms around the record keeping.  From costs related to each job, to keeping receipts and filing, you need to be able to see the bottom line quickly and clearly.

9.  Network and advertise yourself.  I think this was the thing that sets Jeremy apart from many others. He has a huge network of people he has met during the years, and I don’t believe he ever burned a bridge!  He started smilin’ and dialin’ – letting people know what he was up to, what he was wanting to do, and what he could possibly do for them.  Sometimes he met colleagues for coffee.  He took others to lunch.  He attended meetings of professional organizations and actively sought out places where he could make an impact.  From helping others to volunteering, the idea is to stay in front of potential clients.  This is not the time to adopt the notion that, “I’m good at what I do, so people will come to me.”  We’ve known several fellow voyagers who followed this course, and have sunk!

10.  Don’t. Stop. Moving.  To be successful on the Encore, you need to have some hustle!  Those who fail are the ones with an “I’ll do it later” attitude.  If you believe that you can do this with a TV flipper in your hand, you are sadly mistaken. Success is not easy…and it is certainly not for the lazy!

Being an entrepreneur

I know what you are thinking…You’re saying, “Wait…I thought you guys were retired!!”  Well, we are…sort of.  We are designing a life doing exactly what we want to do, when we want to do it, where we want to do it, and with whom we want to do it!   All of the steps above sound like crazy hard work, and initially, they were frightening, and nerve wracking. That said, the end result is that

We get to decide what to make of each day!

And as we’ve become more comfortable on the voyage, we often look at each other and say,

“Dang…This is a really sweet gig we’ve got going here!”

Here’s to hoping that you, too, can end up with a “sweet gig!”

Lynn

Photo credit: Sergey Zolkin – Unsplash

Retirement Do-Overs Can Happen!

Do-Over

Yesterday, I was doing some freelance work which involved looking through a college search engine which is being developed.  The search engine provides a simplified way for students to get information about applying for our state’s colleges for the first time.  As I meandered through all of the college websites, I found myself thinking, “Dang!  It would be so fun to go to college again!”  Which got me to thinking about what I would have done differently.  And then that train of thought headed down the ‘would you choose a different career?’ track.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I was a special education teacher for almost 30 years, and I can honestly say it was my true passion.  But have you ever asked yourself,

“What would I do for a career
if I could do it all over again?”

I worked my way through the college websites, looking at all the degree and program offerings, thinking, “Oh, that would be cool” or “I’d like to study that,” and even, “Oh, yuck! That doesn’t sound fun at all!” And then it hit me…There’s not a reason in the world that we retirees can’t study anything our hearts’ desire!  It doesn’t have to be a commitment to an entire college degree program.  I’m not planning on starting a new career anytime soon. What I discovered is that most colleges and universities offer a reduced per credit rate for seniors over 60. (It ticks me off that I’m not quite old enough! – Yep, I’m too young for college…who knew?!)  Many postsecondary institutions have adult learning and ‘not for credit’ programs at a greatly reduced cost.  And for that matter, there are lots of web-based learning opportunities out there that are totally cheap!  A quick Google search brings up plenty of opportunities from campus based programs to YouTube!  All that is required is curiosity and a little time!  And we retirees have nothing if not time, right?  So why not?

Is there anything that you have always wanted to learn how to do?  Any topic that has always peaked your curiosity?  Something that you’ve always wanted to try? There’s no time like the present.  I’d love to hear your stories!  Have you tried any adult learning options or are you planning to do so?  Leave a comment, I’d love it if you’d share!

Lynn

Photo credit: Kazuend – Unsplash

 

Retirement Rituals

Retirement Rituals-What are Yours-

Before the hubs and I started this retirement phase, we got up every morning and headed off to our respective jobs.  Patterns emerged…we sort of fell into a routine of who did what each day, each week.  He got up early and made the coffee.  I figured out what we were having for dinner and made arrangements.

Out the door we went, where we put in our 8 hours working for the man…(ha ha ha – Who am I kidding!  I was a TEACHER for cryin’ out loud).  But wait…I digress…When we finally did arrive home after work, we again settled into the motions of getting all of the required tasks done so that we would be able to successfully get up and do it all again tomorrow.  After 30 years or so, let’s just say

We settled into a routine!

But after just a short time on the Encore Voyage, guess what happened?

The routine got shot to hell!

You see, now, nobody absolutely must be out the door by 7:00 AM anymore. The entire house does not need to be cleaned on a Saturday because we have plenty of time over the course of several days.  We can shop for groceries…together…at midnight…on a Tuesday!  We can read books all night and snooze in the afternoon if need be.  Even our Encore Careers which we’ve developed have flexibility of schedule.  So many times, we just look at each other and say,

“This is a sweet gig.”

We now have time to pause, to reflect, to live our lives with more intention.  We enjoy being together, and are paying attention to what that really means.  Many different sorts of “routines” have started to emerge.  They are ours, they are personal, they are subtle. Some are just plain goofy things we do, some will probably make you gag – and they are all the exact opposite of rushing out the door.

Here’s a few to show you what I mean:

  • When we get up, hubs now comes around to my side of the bed, tucks the covers in around me, and tweaks the end of my nose. (Sickeningly sweet, I know!) I wake up every morning feeling cherished.
  • Often in the evening, we have a glass of wine before dinner.  I don’t know why or when it started, but with every glass of wine I drink, I now hand him my glass and give him the last sip.  My way of saying, “I’d give you everything?
  • Hubs often needs to fly to different project sites.  Not that I worry about his flying, but still…every time he lands at an airport, he sends me the following text – “Tranquility base, the Eagle has landed.”  I am his tranquility base.
  • Now, every morning, because we don’t have to rush off to our respective employers, our dog, Roxy and I head into hub’s office, where we both climb onto his lap for a second and be “daddy’s girls.”  Alright, I know you’re thinking that one is a little over the top…

My point is, we are developing new rituals – new ways of being with each other – that our working lives would not have allowed.  We are creating new life patterns that are based not on a hurried routine, but rather on lingering in the moments that matter.  Who knows – perhaps in retirement we have developed cases of “terminal mushiness.”  When I asked hubs about it, he said, “I don’t know…but I love you, and I appreciate you.”  I am confident that he always has!  But the Encore Voyage has given us time to delight in our new routines.

Lynn

Photo Credit: Emanuel Feruzi – Unsplashed